Friday, October 23, 2015
Chicken Adventure Update
It supposedly rained today. I did see a few drops and the ground was at least moist for a change but I don't think we got any actual real rain.
I spent most of the day sitting on the covered porch and watching the chickens and sheep. I did manage to take out one more load of manure into the hay field so I could at least say I did something worth while.
Things seem to be taking on a familiar and comfortable routine with the chickens now. We haven't lost a bird in about two months and the remaining ones appear to have finally figured out they need to stay out the back side of the barn.
I finally admitted defeat in getting most of the hens to lay in the nest box I built although a couple of them seem happy with that location. I took some extra round feeder pans we had laying around that are about 15 inches in diameter and maybe 5 inches deep. Filled them with old hay and started placing them around on the hay bales and stuff. The hens that were laying in the bales now appear to be happy to use these feed pans.
We are getting about five eggs a day now.
Rocky walks around here like he is king of the world too. About every 10 minutes or so he decides it's his right to mate with a hen but the ones who don't like him always try and keep the barn between them so he will leave em alone. Occasionally though Rocky will go searching for a particular hen. That's about the only drama I see now in chicken land as a few of the hens just don't want him messing with them.
The last Red Sexlink hen we have however seems to be especially delicate when it comes to Rocky's attentions and will almost pass out after he is done with her. We started keeping her in a large dog crate now at night so Rocky can't get to her when in the coop. She seems much happier and healthier since we did that. That poor hen also has had her beak rounded off by her previous owner so she can't defend herself from the other hens. She has pretty much become her own little loner flock and prefers hanging out with people over chickens.
We even seem to have put a stop to a couple of the hens trying to roost on top of the coop stall and started feeding cracked corn every evening which get's all the chickens into the coop without fail. They really like that corn.
As far as free range goes some of the hens are definitely free ranging. I saw one halfway down the hay field this afternoon at least 100 yards away. Eventually they are going to get too far out and we are going to lose one, it's only a matter of time, but so far between the sheep and the horses only the one Redtailed hawk is brave enough to get that close to the barn or out in the open field.
It's really amusing to see the hens run whenever that big Redtail flies over but so far she has only taken an interest in the hens that one time. We also have another hawk that patrols and sends the chickens running but I think he is only a Coopers or Shined hawk as he is much smaller than that Redtail. He never pays a bit of attention to the chickens but they still run when they see him.
So the chicken drama appears to be mostly over now and egg production has been increasing. Inf act we are now to the point we are getting more eggs than we know what to do with.
I wish I had added chickens to the place years ago now.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!