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May Coop Newsletter 2020
May has been better this year in many ways, not as much flooding and 90 degree days, but still a few tornado threats to keep us watchful. The hens are settling into a new “Pecking Order” and poor Sunny got the short straw. Eggs are still coming regularly and customers are kept happy. Weeds did try to take over the chicken pen but Bill took the weed eater to them, leaving the pretty wild Purple Verbena! Such a sweet reminder that our land was once pasture.
Eggs! Oh My! While on my usual patrol around the chicken yard each evening, I try to remember to check the green bin that’s being used as an alternative laying spot sometimes. Of course, there was a pile of eggs! Oh no! In the house to let the eggs come up to room temperature, then to do the Egg Float Test! Yay! Most were just 1-4 days old, the rest, were, um, older! Those went into our breakfast! It’s good I have the nestbox #2 for the new ladies to escape to when they need to lay their egg! But as the month wore on, I found less and less there. On more than one occasion, though, I’ve discovered an egg sitting in the poo tray, having somehow gotten laid during the night. Man! This is usually caused by somebody not getting to use the nestbox when she needed—or she just forgot! Those get cleaned up and put where only we will use them—NOT for customers, for sure! The ladies have gotten a routine now it seems. Integrating new hens into a flock takes time, and patience, and a little forethought! Think of it as Chicken High School.
Dust Bath? The hens still aren’t sure what to make of all that glorious sand there in the shade. We put in a specially made sand/dust bath area to keep them from digging up tree roots making their own. It’s not going as we’d hoped. They will hop inside, scratch around a little, peck here and there, then see something and hop down. One after the other. Maybe they’re going to vote on whether it’s usefulor not. We’ll, it will be there. Maybe I’ll try sprinkling in some meal worms and then mixing them into the sand? Couldn’t hurt! I just don’t want it to be an attraction for the occasionalferal cat! Think I’ll throw in some dirt too, try to make it look like what’s under the trees!
Mothers Day was wonderful enough outside to sit and chicken watch that afternoon. Kids gave me a cute chicken inspired thermo cup I showed off to the ladies. Only Ms. Speckles approved! She’s the wild child of the flock, so she got the joke! I’m so happy the new ladies feel chummy enough to hop onto my lap for a chat! They make little “Pur Pur” sounds and I answer whatever question that’s on their mind. I just love it when one of the new ladies jumps onto my lap for a chat or a peaceful snooze. We talk and they get pets and understanding. It was a wonderful day. The kids got a kick of seeing the hens on my lap! It’s been a long time since I’ve had sweet hens like these!
Peck! Peck! Raising chickens is more complicated than they first tell you. I read everything I could find and that helped me be prepared for most. Having a wide expanse of yard for the new combined flock to wander help the new ones run for safety if needed. We’ve gone through all those steps, even to the nestbox etiquette.I’d been warned that Orphingtons are so sweet that they are often picked on and end up last in the order. I was ready. Sunny is a hefty gal, so she could give it right back. She will sometimes hop on my lap to rest in safety. Blondie is the worst of the bunch–really loving NOT being on the bottom anymore. Sassy just likes to sit and gossip. It gives her peace. She lives up to her name and doesn’t let the others boss her around, but as a ‘new kid’ still gets a peck or pounce.Sassy and Blondie sometimes hang out, reminding me of the proverb, “Birds of a feather…”, Speckles can sometimes blend in with Dottie and Rosie who seem to be toleratingher well. She’s spunky and so won’t allow mistreatment. Good for her! Keeping them all occupied with fun treats helps the new ladies be less harassed.
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