Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Integrating new chickens to an established flock

Gyah! Jimmy and I both worked late last night. And we both got home within 5 minutes of each other. I went outside to check on the girls cuz the 2 new ones had only  had 1 night in the big coop.    They weren't there.  And they weren't in the pen. I searched the 8 X 14 pen for 10 minutes.  I looked behind every fern and bush and bucket of water.   I was starting to get really concerned  when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye.  They had somehow managed to tear down a corner of the pen netting and were roosting on the fence under the eve of the front of the house.  I went in to get Jimmy, who was not happy  to have to put his clothes back on  (the man peels in record setting time when he walks through the door after work)  to come out and be tall.  The red was easy to retrieve and Jimmy handed her down to me.  The leghorn, who has been named Miss Prissy (foghorn Leghorns girlfriend), unfortunately was awake by now and she proved to be a challenge.  Jimmy got a face full of flapping feathers all the way back to the coop.   Once in the coop they settled in quickly.  This morning  everything is fine.  No one is fighting...... yet.   The good thing  about adding two more birds is that Hashtag is no longer  the primary target. She hasn't quite figured it out yet though.  Every tempest  sends her running under the coop where she peeks out and watches.  Poor little Hashtag, She just wants everyone to get along.  She is nice to everyone.  I keep waiting for the day when she gets tired of their crap and goes to the top of the little chicken clock tower with an itty bitty  automatic rifle.  It will serve 'em right...the cranky old hags.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Portage Bay Grange, two more chickens, integrating flocks, vermin problem solved

 I picked up two new girls from  the Portage Bay Grange day before  yesterday.  This place is too cool for words!  If you are doing the urban farm thing in Seattle this is a great resource http://www.portagebaygrange.com/   Prices are reasonable and the animals are uber healthy and come with a guarantee.  Its a tiny urban farmers Disneyland.  In fact I was having so much fun choosing my two new girls and chasing   an escaped rabbit that the one hours worth of quarters I fed into the parking meter ran out and I  got to my car just in time to thank the parking police for the ticket he gave me.   The guy at portage bay even offered to pay the ticket for me!  So, great place, great customer service, reasonable prices and healthy animals.  
Now for the two new girls: A beautiful white leghorn and a gentle  Amish heritage rhode island red.  These are possibly the two calmest birds I have ever seen outside of my own flock.  The leghorn is delightful and expressive.  We put the integration pen inside the large pen in the back corner.    My  girls have spent the last 5 years turning this area into a fluffy turkish chicken bath.  When the leghorn realized that she had just been dropped into chicken heaven she   dropped into a dirt hole and spent the next twenty minutes gleefully splashing in the warm dry dirt.  The Rhode Island just stood and watched her with a look that said "Really ? You couldn't wait to get  to know everyone before you take a bath in front of them?" 
Tonight we put the new girls in the coop after everyone has gone to sleep.  I expect tomorrow will be painfully noisy. 
On the opossum front.  The trap has been empty in the mornings.  No opossum,no rats. It appears the vermin problem has been solved for a while.

Here are some photos of he new girls (and the old so they don't get jealous)

white  leghorn and  amish heritage rhode island red
5 months old

white leghorn hen

Backyard chicken flock, 1 barred rock, 2 rhode island reds, 1 leghorn, 1 amish heritage rhode island red, 1 spoiled silkie (playing under the coop)