It's funny. I've had chickens before and never had a problem. I raised mostly Rhode Island Reds, with some Australorps and Ameracaunas thrown in, when we lived in Spanaway. I had chickens for years. Never wormed them, or used mite dust. Never had hens beating on others. Everything went smoothly. Then we moved to the city and I haven't had chickens in about 5 years. I missed them, so decided to get myself some city chickens. First it was the 3 standard production girls. They all came from the same seller. They now live in a smallish chicken tractor. And they are healthy and get along fabulously. Then I decided to add some bantams to the backyard. They have a nice sized run (6x6) and their own fancy little coop. And they've been nothing but trouble since they arrived. They've had mites, lice, worms....and they beat on each other. I thought bantams would be sweet little chickens. Not so, in my experience. I recently sold the 2 Frizzles to the same lady who bought the chick trio. Why? Because I went out one day and discovered one of the Frizzles missing masses of feathers and her back all bloody. The 2 of them didn't come out of the coop for 2 days. I made the decision to rehome them. I suspected Pinky was the culprit, although I didn't witness the attack. What sparked it? I think it was a brawl over some zucchini. Now I am down to just 3 bantams and all seemed peaceful until today, when I noticed that Ebony was chasing Pinky and pulling the feathers from her back. Not that I feel too sorry for Pinky, as she's been a bully, herself. But I have had it up to here with the bantam bitchiness. I had read online some suggestions for dealing with bully hens. We'll see if they work. I went into the run, grabbed miss Ebony and put her in a submissive posture with her little face in the dirt and picked at her back with my hand. I didn't pull her feathers (this time) but I made sure she knew I meant business. Then I stuffed her little behind into the cat crate and left her in the run. She had a "time out" for an hour while Reggie, and the other hens, looked on.
I don't know if her punishment worked, but I didn't see her misbehaving anymore, once I let her out. I left the empty crate in the run, as a reminder.
The chickens aren't the only ones who are naughty. Reggie knows the cat isn't allowed on the bed. But they have worked out a deal. If I'm outside, or in the basement, Reggie lets Singha up. Then, as soon as he hears me come in, he starts barking and Singha jumps down. When I go feel the bed there are 2 warm spots, so I know what they're up to. Today I bought a full length mirror to hang in the bathroom. Right now it is propped up against a wall. Poor Reggie can't figure out how to get to that "other dog" in the mirror. He tries looking behind it, scratching at it & barking at it. Finally he just lays down in front of the mirror and cries. Why won't that dog come out and play? It's hilarious.
The garden is keeping me busy, as well. Look! I finally got 4 orange tomatoes!
They should be red in a day or so. Can't wait for my first BLT of the season. And I pulled up my basil plants, today. They keep trying to bloom and the leaves are turning tough. I picked off the more tender leaves and am dehydrating them. I shouldn't have to buy any basil for a while.
I've begun knitting the Gnome Socks, but will leave that for another post.