Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lay, ladies, lay

Last night Rick put together these nesting boxes for our little hens. Now, girls, let's have some return on our investment! You four certainly eat and drink enough! (I'd love to let them free-range and find their own food, but the DH who won't tolerate pigeon poop is no more tolerant of chicken poop. Sigh.)

I have noticed that beautiful Morgan, our lone Easter-Egger, gets picked on. Was the meanie just one particular Rhode Island Red, or all of them? I wasn't sure. Today, THIS biddy pecked Morgan at the feeder and came away with a beak full of head feathers. I chased her around until I caught her, and then held her so Morgan could eat unmolested. Morgan gobbled scratch eagerly without acting leery of the other two Rhodies, so I suspect the one I caught is the sole bully.When I put Miss Meanie down, she acted more subdued. That's her on the left, the darkest red one. She's on notice!

That's it for now at . . .

11 comments:

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

hehehehe......put another 2 inch high board across the front bottom...those little stinkers also like to scratch in their nest boxes and you will find precious eggs on the floor or worse, the eggs will crack and they will gladly eat them before you even know that they laid them!! LOL! This comes from 40 years of having laying hens...hahahaha! Presently we keep 100-150 layers here year round...we sell 'naturally nested free range' eggs out the wazoo....

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

There IS a 2-inch board along the bottom of the fronts! They just look a little "overstuffed" because of the straw.

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

No, I meant to add another one. In winter when it's chilly and you give them deep bedding in there, the eggs can get knocked out...adult hen eggs are 1.5 inches tall when lain on their side, so only 2 inches from base to top of bottom board won't be enough for later on...maybe I explained that better this time :-)

Kara said...

Michelle,

My husband wants to get chickens too, but I am reluctant, as I am about a dairy goat. It is hard because he is such a good sport about the horses and the sheep. I gave in on the pigs. So slowly but surely we are becoming an Old McDonald Farm! I'll have to follow your blogs about the chickens for pointers. Do you find the Reds aggressive in general. What is Morgan?

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

We never had Rhode Island Reds growing up, but Rick had them when we were dating. I don't remember the hens being that aggressive, but the roosters were. They weren't my pick.... Morgan is an "Easter-Egger," what some people call an Araucauna or Ameracauna, but they aren't really, the chicken experts tell me. They are a generic crossbred chicken that lays colored eggs -- usually green. Check out Corinne's block if you want to see LOTS of interesting, unusual chicken breeds! (http://crosswindsfarm.blogspot.com/)

melanie said...

Another tip on the chickens - they are working out their pecking order, and although it looks cruel, it is necessary for them, and will continue whether you are there to break it up or not. (I know michelle, that is hard for you to hear...)

But you can ease the situation by putting out another feed container. Not necessarily more feed, but like kids, if they have to share one, someone gets bossy. So fool them and put out another, then Miss Meany feels like she is "winning".

And Alaska Shetland Shepherd is right about the board...it's either that or a lot more shavings on the floor to cushion the fall. That happens to us at least once a week where the girls start fussing in the box, and an eggs winds up on the floor...

Kathy said...

I agree with both Suzanne and Melanie, Michelle...another board and putting another feeder out if it soothes y-o-u. The chickens will always have a top hen and a bottom hen, no matter how many you remove - there will always be a pecking order.
I used to only have about 70 layers when I sold eggs...

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

When I was a kid, our chickens free-ranged, so I didn't see the pecking order thing like this. We had mostly white leghorns, and I remember them being pretty mellow. I also had a pair of pet bantams that I loved....

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Just to add my two cents, what Alaska Shetland said, about the hens eating the eggs; not only will they eat them if they break accidentally, but they will evenutally figure out where all that wonderful goo comes from and start breaking them on purpose.

A :-) said...

Michelle - you might be interested in my friend, Linda's blog - I might have mentioned it to you before.

http://awindycitygal.wordpress.com/

She's got "urban chicken" in her backyard in Chicago! Just got some new baby chicks and there's a little video of them up now.

country girl said...

Not much that I can add to this except to say that I love eggs that come from chickens like yours; although they are pretty hard to peel when you hardboil them.