Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chickens Part 4: Lunacy Confirmed.

The “homemade” eggs, as my oldest son fondly calls them, are so much better than store bought ones that I began to entertain the idea of getting a few more girls!   Oh, yes.  You know right where this is going.
So when I saw an add on Craigslist for 12 week old hens, I couldn’t help myself.  “Hey, Honey…?” I called.   Lol!
He thought it was a good idea, too.  Why not get them started?  We are committed to building a proper pen anyway, right?
We picked out and caught FIVE more little hens from a local chicken-raising family. Picture 007
These little girls are Americana chicks and will lay pink or blue eggs.  Two girls look like they will be a pretty brown/red.  And three are silver.  We added them to our pen.  Smiled.  And said, “Cool.” 
Hubby went inside, and I stayed out to water the garden.
Those five chicks stayed in the pen all of two minutes!  Then they popped through the chain link holes and trekked through my garden-- right in front of my three cats!—who immediately assumed their stalking positions. 
Not to be left out, the dog came running over, too.
Honest to goodness, those hens hadn’t LOOKed little enough to squeeze through that fence!  But apparently, they can squeeze themselves through much smaller openings than their fluffed out selves would lead you to believe!
It was one of those duh moments when I just wanted to kick myself.
The race was on!  Who would catch them first?
The only positive thing was, it was 9:00 at night and our lovely neighbors were all inside where they should be.
I yelled at the dog. Shooed the cats, and chased the chickens round and round the pen.  They wanted to go back in.  But only four had the brains to squeeze back in on the second lap without looking for the perfect spot.  The fifth one looked like a little kid playing duck duck goose who couldn’t remember where to sit. 
Eventually, she worked her body back through the fence. 
After stationing my little guy at the pen with the command to patrol the perimeter and scare them at will, I ran for backup, dragging the dog behind.
So from 9:30-10:15pm, my husband and I fed the mosquitoes while we added hardware cloth to the bottom of the pen.  All by the shaky  light of my little guy’s flashlight.
We made sure everyone had settled into the coop.  Then we went to bed.
The next morning, there was enough racket out there to raise the dead.  Did you know that hens do not necessarily adopt newcomers with grace?
Sheesh!  Those crazy birds would flutter out of no where and peck the slowest chick. 
on the run
Can you say danger behind the water cooler? 
danger at the water coolerIs this where the term “henpecked” comes from?  Thankfully, there seemed to be less chasing and pecking by midday.
And they did very well for the next two days.
*  *  *
Then the heat wave hit.  100.  102.  105.  They began to show signs of heat stress.  There just wasn’t enough shade for them. 
So my oldest son and I went out to cover the pen.  We found a silver sided tarp in the shed and tied it on, overhanging the sunny side a little bit.  Then we dragged an old privacy fence panel over to shield them from the intense afternoon sun.  Picture 011
You are laughing, aren’t you?  It’s ok.  It’s such a redneck monstrosity that I’ve stopped caring what the pen looks like and just want the chickens to live. 
Taking this thing apart to do it right is going to be a bigger chore than building a new pen!  Lol!
Picture 012
I read that misting the pen helped when it was really hot.  So every hour or two I went out and misted things well. 
So much for thinking chickens were easy!!
Picture 002
Between the shade and the mist, though, they were a much happier bunch of birds.  :)
Thank goodness. 
Now, if it would just cool down out there, I can begin to relax.  :)
And that brings me to the end of my chicken posts for now.  I promise to keep my nose off of craigslist for a while (that should help).  However, when we get the new pen built, I’ll be sure to bore you with the details! 
Thanks for hanging in there through it all!  Hopefully you laughed along with (or at) us!  I know I laughed at us! :)


Mari said...

Oh my! What an ordeal you've been through with these chickens. Glad the eggs taste good!

Susie said...

Okay...I may have to admit there was the teensiest bit of laughter at your expense, but it was so entertaining to read the sage from beginning to end. :) And I was rooting for the chickens by the end. I love the pic you got of the one hen stalking the younger ones from behind the water "cooler." LOL!!

And "homemade" eggs are so yummy!! I just wish I could get Wyomissing Borough to allow us to keep a few chickens. But they've written the code so airtight you aren't even allowed to have elephants. ;) (Guess somebody tried?)

Glad they're working out for you! Good luck with them! I understand they can be great weed- and bug-eaters...or maybe that's geese?

Christina said...

What an adventure! :D

Kim @ Homesteader's Heart said...

Oh I've loved every minute of YOUR adventure. LOL! I'm sure we'll have our own stories to tell when we finally get our chickens.

in the coop said...

Oh my! When I read that you got new little chickens to put with the older ones, I cringed. Adults are known to peck younger ones to death if they don't stay in line. Glad to know the girls figured it all out without any casualties. I'm so glad you took on this fun adventure. And those blue/green eggs are great. We've had that breed before, and people really didn't believe that the eggs came out that color. Lovin' the looks of the coop. Hope your neighbors find it as amusing as we do! :)
Have fun!

Rosie said...

Funny stuff! This is another reason why I just have to buy my eggs!!!