Monday, May 24
I Have Twelve 'Tweens'
This past weekend we decided to semi-merge the flock of 12 golden comets (almost 2 months old but HUGE!) with the 6 Rhode Island Red / Leghorns (all ladies, except for one who is bitchy).
After seeking advice from online sources and my books, we decided to still keep them separate but let them see each other so they would get used to each other. We hope this will limit fighting when they are all in the same pen together. We hauled some fencing sections out of the big barn that had come with the house and used them to divide the inside coop section in half. The sections are only about 4 feet high so I can still reach over and tend to food and water needs, so we put the little ladies on the far side of the coop. The big ladies stayed when I could easily get to the nest boxes for egg collection.
The same happened with the outside, a divider about 4 feet high down the center. Both sections have their own enter/exit door to the inside coop.
One by one we introduced the girls to their now home by way of Roy climbing into the big cage and handing them to me one at a time as he caught them. They were not happy, and neither was Roy, but everyone made it safely to the new enclosure which is bigger and they can finally have access to the grass. They explored every inch of their new apartment with interest and caution.
The ladies were not pleased either. A lot of clucking and squawking from the big 6 but not much else. We do have one of the six who is getting aggressive. She is of darker color than the rest and tends to like to wallow in the dust and shed her feathers. She had a little bald patch on her rump and some of her wing feathers are a little thin in spots but she actually came to us this way so it is nothing I am concerned about at the moment. But she is just a little mean.
The little ones did not dare venture outside into the grass all day Saturday and only 5 of them braved the out of doors yesterday.
Now comes the fun part. The six ladies know to go into the coop at around 8pm. They learned this around the third day and are really good at it. No problems. The little 'tweens' however are not with the program. I can hear them now 'I don't want to go to bed!'
I have a flock of twelve prissy tweens who backtalk and push my limits. I did finally coral them using a lawn chair and snow shovel. No one was injured or traumatized and if you are picturing my running around inside a fence, bent over due to the 5 foot clearance of the top netting, shooing tween chicks with a blue Sears snow shovel, then you go ahead and laugh because I am sure it looked funny to the guy and his wife walking their dog down my road.
We had three prison breaks during the night on Sunday however - I went to let everyone out this morning and discovered three wayward little girls cowering in a corner of the big girls area, unharmed but a little freaked out.
We are getting about 5 or 6 eggs per day from the big ladies and I so far have two egg customers. When all 18 are laying eggs, I am going to be up to my ears in eggs so I had better hunt down more customers.