The Chickens Get Their Own Backyard

by - February 14, 2018

The chickens are angry at me this week because they've been booted from the yard. I finally got tired of them kicking all the dirt and mulch out of my flower beds, wandering into the neighbors' yards and getting closer and closer to the street where neighbors regularly walk dogs. Without a fenced back yard, free range was just too free, and with spring around the corner, I didn't want to have to deal with them uprooting the wildflowers I'm about to seed. The veggie garden has a fence, but the Tweedles have no problem squeezing in and out of the pickets to get at whatever is left of the cabbage.

Joe and I fenced in a corner of the yard behind their coop for them. It's an approximately 60 ft long and 3 ft tall temporary fence that won't protect them from predators, but it it can be closed off at night. So far they have not attempted to fly out. The new space is accessible from the coop and required cutting out an opening in their large vented panel and building a new ladder. We managed to not block off any off the boys' treehouse entrances and left the space outside the window accessible for us to look in at the chickens at night. That's right friends, our version of a "date night" is to sneak out and see which hen is on which roost. 

We refer to this new space as their backyard. While the ladies aren't scratching around looking for bugs and worms, there are usually a cluster of wild birds snatching up sunflower seeds and scratch grains the chickens have left behind.

From the front, you can't even tell it's there.

In other news, Luna was in the nest box yesterday. She rarely gets up in there, and we've been wondering if she would ever lay another egg. Well this morning, I found a bloody egg on the floor of the coop when I moved out the a-frame.

The egg was small compared to the ones usually in the nest box. It's possible that Penny has started laying, but there's no way of telling until we catch her in the act. She did fluff her feathers today after I held her like the mature hens do. 

I don't think Betty White laid the egg. Betty White doesn't seem to understand how to do basic hen things other than eat. There is only one night since bringing her home that she has put herself to bed in the coop. She also still stands tall and on alert unless she is eating or Ruby has been pestering her. Penny still seems to love her even though Penny now sleeps up on the roost with the big hens. Anyhow, I've read that Silkies can take upwards of 9 months to begin laying. 

Sorry for the picture of the bloody egg.

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