We Have Chickens!

Yesterday we picked up our chickens. The owner had several to choose from, and we chose one Buff Orpington and one Black Astralorp. Both are supposed to be good cold weather birds. I've wanted a Buff for a long time. Eventually when we move, I'm hoping she'll be a broody hen, and set eggs and raise chicks for us

They've settled in well. I put them in the chicken tractor and they immediately set to nabbing bugs and tearing off little pieces of weeds to eat (our lawn has almost as much dandelions as grass). It's been dry here, and we've begun to water the grass. Chickens are great for grass, so I'm hoping they really help.

While I made some adjustments to the tractor, the chickens were making very loud "bok, bok, bok" sounds. I was worried if they kept that up, they would be "stealth chickens" no more! But once I put them in the tractor, they quieted right down. The cat next door discovered them very quickly, and began stalking the chickens. I have no fear of the cat though. She's small, and these chickens are pretty big. I think she just likes to think she can "take" them. I'm pretty certain if I let them out, the cat would head for the hills!

The dogs were in awe of the chickens. They just stared at them as if to say "hey...what the heck are those, and what are they doing here?" The kids were thrilled. The lady who owned the chickens let us check out her chickens and goats, and they got to pet the cat.

My oldest son wanted to name the chickens Jason and Jackson. I have no idea where he got those names from! I told him the chickens are girls and needed girl names, so he came up with Jill, and I helped him come up with Ginger. The Buff is Jill. I was thinking of calling them Buffy and Blackie, just to get the naming over with, lol! It took a while!

The "girls" seemed to settle in well. I gave them a pan of water and some leftovers for dinner...lettuce, green peppers, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes. It was late in the day so I didn't feed them much, they were already looking to go to roost. Which reminds me...tomorrow I need to add another roost in there. The one in the chicken tractor wasn't big enough for these two big birds, so I suspect the Buff will be spending the night in the nesting box...she appears NOT to be the dominant bird, since the Astralorp, Ginger, was perched on the roost, and didn't look like she planned to give up her "throne" any time soon!

This morning I found quite a mess in the tractor. They'd spread the newspaper strips I had put in the nesting box all over the place, and dumped out their water. I know this is typical chicken behavior, but I do believe it is more of a problem because there isn't much room. The footprint of the cage is about 3 x 3, but the actually useable space is 2 x 2. I made the mistake of dumping this morning's scraps in the middle of the cage. Ginger promptly placed herself over the pile and feasted on it, while Jill made raspy bok-bok noises and circled around her. Finally I took some of the scraps and placed them in the now-empty nesting box, so Jill could sneak up there and eat some too. I definitely want to get a cage with more room, because otherwise it's going to be too easy for Ginger to hog all the food.

Otherwise, so far so good!

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