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.
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.
Can you say danger behind the water cooler?
Is 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.
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!
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!!
Between the shade and the mist, though, they were a much happier bunch of birds. :)
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! :)