I’m really getting fond of my little flock. As they mature, they are getting more trusting of us and willing to be picked up and petted. My son and daughter-in-law came for a Mother’s Day visit and got a chance to meet the birds. “Beauty” was not so sure she wanted to be captured, but she settled into it and became quite comfortable to rest in our hands and walk around in our laps. Not quite as lovable as a dog, but a chicken has its own charm.
We’ve continued improving on their habitat. We purchased a hanging feeder that holds lots of chicken feed in a bucket and Joe hung it inside the coop so they always have nice dry food available. We built a different waterer with “chicken nipples” that they can peck and get nice drips of fresh water. It is harder than you’d think to build and we are still working out the flaws before we try to teach them to use it. We have the original watering tray up on blocks now, and have eliminated the problem with bedding getting scratched up into it anyway.
I feel bad about this morning. On Monday night, I was walking in the field and stepped wrong, spraining my knee. Ouch. I was pretty well laid up yesterday and after a visit to the doctor and x-rays, I mostly sat around with ice wrapped around it. When I got back in business this morning and hobbled out to check on my feathered friends in the coop, they rushed over to the now empty watering hole and looked up at me expectantly. Aww, poor babies! I cleaned it out and filled it back up and they all crowded around drinking for about 10 minutes.
We’ll be going away for a little vacation soon, and I have found a local FFA (Future Farmers of America) student to come and check on the chickens. I don’t think it will be much of a job, but now I see that they can run out of food or water sooner than I would have thought. I will meet the boy tonight and feel a bit silly telling him how to take care of them because he said he’s cared for hundreds of meat chickens for 12 years of his life already. My tiny little laying flock will be nothing for him, but the job should be a simple way to earn a little money and will let me relax about the birds while I’m away.
We had another dog-chicken crisis on Monday night (before I sprained my knee.) One had managed to squeeze through a bent corner of the fence and Fionn and Beezee ganged up on her. Fionn had her in his mouth in a heartbeat but he did drop her on command. Under this kind of stress, a chicken freezes in shock and huddles down with her head tucked as deeply between her wings as she can. I picked her up and crooned comforting noises as I stroked her feathers and laid her gently into a nesting box through the egg door of the coop. She immediately hopped down and ran away and seems to be fine so far. Maybe a little smarter than before.
In the short time we’ve had them in the coop, there have been lots of surprises, so there may be more while we are gone. I hope our chicken sitter knows how to handle whatever comes up.