Sunday, December 20, 2015
Sunday Reading - The Poultry Barn Twelve
Ever so slowly the new poultry barn retirees are settling in. Two or three of them actually embraced their new life of "mostly" uncrowded freedom and go out to forage, roost and run around with the original flock but about eight or nine of them are taking it more slowly.
All but three of them now go into the coop on their own. Two actually jump up to the top roosting bar with the original hens, four get up on the low roosting bar now in their own little group and three or so still huddle in the corner on the floor. The night light in the coop seems to actually work somewhat as I mentioned because all but three of the hens now go in. I am only guessing here but I think now when it get's really dark in the barn instead of the hens just sitting down where ever they happen to be and sleep they know the light marks the community sleeping area.
Of course I am just guessing there. All I know is that the dim little light has managed to lure six of the nine hens that used to just plop down on the floor of the barn anywhere they were when it got dark, into the coop now. Two or three can still be found in various places though. I wait an hour or two after full dark and go down there and pick up the stragglers and carry them into the coop then turn off the light and lock em in.
Hennypenny, our original one Red sexlink still goes into her dog crate though. The addition of 12 more hens like her did nothing to help her work through her dislike of other chickens. If anythign it seems to have strengthened it.
The next change I have noticed these hens are going through is growth. I couldn't say if it is a natural thing for their breed or what but if their reported age is accurate than these hens are different from the others or perhaps it is because of the life they lead before we got them. What I know is that for hens over a year old they really looked more like young pullets in size while the hand raised hens we got as pullets had that classic laying hen "hippiness" shape well before being a year old. After a couple weeks of free ranging though a two or three of these hens are actually fattening up some and beginning to get that same shape. They are now beginning to waddle rather than run.
The bad side is I have to constantly watch my step when in the barn though. The hens that have not adapted to going outside yet all come running and congregate around my feet whenever I am in there thinking they are going to get some extra grain or something. I also think a number of them are not laying yet after the move which doesn't surprise me as I imagine coming from the life they knew and all was pretty stressful on them. Still I don't think averaging a dozen fresh eggs a day from 30 hens in the middle of December is a bad count especially with no real artificial light going. They may even have another hiding spot I haven't found yet too.
I really thought these poultry barn birds would adapt a little quicker since we had the original flock to show them the ropes but for some of them it doesn't seem to be working out that way. As I said about eight or nine of them just don't seem to want to adapt yet. I am sure they just need a little more time.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!!