Thursday, 9 June 2011

Chickens: A photo update

We've been spending a lot of time looking out of the window at our hens, and they are flourishing. In just over 3 weeks they are behaving like real chickens; its like they've never been in battery cages. The following videos and photographs show their eggsploits of the last week or two!

All the ladies have been out free-ranging for at least 8 hours a day since they settled in with us; and have mostly been taking themselves to bed. I say mostly, because one night, Custard (who is having a well deserved rest in this picture, watched over by Omelette) didn't go to bed! We locked her out of the coop by accident, and the poor girl was out all night. Luckily there were no foxes around, but our neighbour saw a big ginger cat in the garden in the middle of the night after hearing lots of loud squawking! There were lots of feathers on the grass in the morning and Custard had a very blood-shot eye and really was not her usual self. She kept flopping down on the grass and I was really worried about her, she was the first one in bed that night. I think she had been attacked by a cat, but been feisty enough to fight it off!

But I had no need to worry; she was the first one out of the coop in the morning, as usual. She had her beak in the food bowl within a few seconds and has been completely back to her normal cheeky self and her eye has healed well. In this video she is trying to sneak into the kitchen. In fact, all of the girls keep trying to come inside the house, they are usually crowding around the door within a minute of it being opened.

Bennie (left) has been laying away from the coop, she made a nest at the side of the shed, which isn't a good place as there is lots of junk around there (you can see pieces of wood with old nails in them), and it is now fenced off. She was really disgruntled about being moved and she tried everything to get back into her special area. And while she was looking for somewhere else to nest she almost laid an egg in the kitchen, we could tell by the tone of clucking that there was one on the way! Thankfully then she found the nest box in the coop and she now regularly lays there! Unlike her sisters who lay next to the perch in the coop. They lay where they're supposed to sleep and sleep where they are supposed to lay.
We know where they sleep now because we open the nest box to do a full beak count every night after Custard's nocturnal adventure. They all cuddle up together in the nest box, with their beaks facing inwards; they look so sweet in there.

Bennie eggsplores the garden

From L-R: Custard, Bennie, Omelette

Investigating the new fence that prevents access to the veggie patch.

Bennie having a good scratch in the dirt

Lovely rain water to drink, so much better than the fresh stuff out of the tap...

From back to front: Bennie, Custard and Omelette

Custard being checked over after her "night out".

Omelette enjoying her first dust bath...
And relaxing after the dust bath; she was sat in  there for ages!

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