20 November 2011

Chicken nuggets

Today was the culmination of Project Flock Blend. This project started back in June when we got five new day old chicks who took up residence in the large winter coop while the original flock of four spent the summer and fall in the chicken tractor. I knew from the beginning that we'd have to move everyone into the winter coop before winter. The girls have been free ranging in their two separate flocks for months now, but don't mingle much, though the old ones do chase the young ones away from goodies.

The temperature is forecast to hit -10C tonight, which seems like winter to me, so Madeleine and I grabbed each of the four old chickens and put them into the big coop with the pullets. Everyone was a bit miffed at the disruption of their ordinary routines, and there was much complaining.

The old chickens captured the floor level and the young chickens retreated atop the straw bales which are stacked under the roosts. The old birds partook of the offerings of both feeders and the waterer while the young ones watched, annoyed. When we left, after half an hour or so, there was an uneasy truce, and it was starting to get dark.

I'm sure there will be some jostling for sleeping space tonight, but chickens do enter a kind of nightly torpor, which should prevent any conflict overnight, and hopefully they will wake up slightly confused but well-rested and genial (or at the very least refrain from maiming each other over breakfast).

In every flock, certain chickens stand out for some exceptional trait. Martha, our Plymouth Barred Rock, shown above at the far end, is notable for her lovely appearance and stupidity, even by chicken standards. Martha frequently finds herself lost and was voted most likely to be eaten by a coyote.

Uhura is the chicken who comes running towards me when she sees me approach. She seems to speak for the pullets and objected the loudest to having new roommates.


Photo credit for all the chicken portraits to Madeleine.

The coop is undergoing an expansion this year, with the addition of a sun room. It's still under construction, but I'm sure it will be appreciated this winter.

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