...can you handle more chicken photos? ...I hope so... *grin*
This is Chatty. She's considered to be an "Easter Egger" pullet. She is a cross between an Old English Game Bantam (her mama) and an Ameraucana (her papa). She was one of the chicks that hatched down in the barn in December.
Chatty just started laying cute little green-shelled eggs late last week. She's an adorable little gal, who LOVES to talk. She also loves to be held. And she was the best helper while we were working on the new chicken yard. She had to make sure every screw and every wire was in just the right spot. And she told us what she thought every step of the way.
Chatty used to live at the barn with her sisters and some of the older barn hens, but she got in the way of one of the older *bossier* hens and got a terrible 2" open wound on her neck. Thankfully I interact with the chickens daily and was able to get her isolated and treated right away. She has healed up nicely, but still has a large scar on the back of her neck that interrupts the growth pattern of her feathers.
Cheeks also used to live at the barn, but like Chatty, she got in the way of one of the older *bossier* hens and ended up with a open wound on her head! She immediately joined Chatty in our ICU ward where they both got treated (and spoiled). She has healed up nicely, but has a scar that interrupts the feathers on her head.
See how she's holding her wings out from her body? That's one way a chicken keeps cool on hot days. Nothing better than a nice cool breeze under your wings when it's 90+ degrees out!
Because these two spent so much time away from the barn, and because they seemed to be the two that got picked on by the older hens, I've decided that they'll be integrated in with the babies at the new coop. I refer to them as the head injury duo.
We finally got phase 1 of the new chicken yard completed so yesterday the chicks had their first full day in their new yard, and didn't have to be supervised! It was a great time for photos -- I'll share some of the chick photos tomorrow!
Here's a photo of the coop as it is today. It doesn't look like we've made much progress, but we have! There are still lots of things left to do. Like frame up the small windows we added in the storage area of the building, cut in and finish the large window on the back wall of the coop, finish the chicken door (right now it's just a rough cut hole), continue working on the full chicken yard, paint the trim, and a whole slew of other odds and ends. See the red cord coming out of the window? That's operating the HUGE fan we have in the coop to keep the birds cool. I can't believe how HOT and HUMID it has been here. I don't think I could wish any harder for cool temps and rain!
The 10'x16' roof over their back yard took longer than planned, but I'm glad we did it. It provides great shade and will keep the ground behind the coop from getting too muddy and gross when we actually DO get rain. This kind of covered area really expands the living area of the birds, giving them just that much more space out of the weather. We'll be adding a 30'x30' run off the far side of the coop. The large 30'x30' yard will have two access doors. One from the existing 10'x16' back yard, and one from the front side of the coop. The original plans were to have a 30'x30' yard on both sides of the coop, along with the 10'x16' run at the back, so we'll see how that comes along.
The small wooden structure you can see in the yard is a brooder, which is typically used to house small chicks in the coop when they still need a heat lamp. The front of the brooder folds down, allowing the birds to go in and out as they wish. That is where the head injury duo have been living, enjoying the yard during the day yet having the security of a locked brooder at night. Now that the small chicks are able to access the yard, the head injury duo get to see the chicks but not physically interact with them just yet. They all need time to get used to each other before they're allowed to mingle together. After a week or so, they should all be used to each other and the head injury duo will be able to live with the others, having free access to the coop and yard. This is a nice, safe way to introduce birds to each other. And safe is always best...
Stay tuned for more!