Last week amidst all the chaos, my good friend Liz delivered two 9 month old hens to my house.
I was just too impatient to wait for the chicks to reach six months to start delivering eggs, and watching the baby chickens made me crave a farm fresh egg. I came up with a plan to adopt two laying hens, blend them in with my 8 week old chicks and make us all one big happy chicken family! Wrong! The older hens do not care for the chicks at all.
The vet who sold us the hens told us to leave them in the carrying cage until they became used to the chicks and then blend them, but no, Mark in all his male wisdom decided to release the new hens into the coop where up they immediately commenced an attack on the little ones. The Barred Rock hen appears to be out for blood! After capturing the hens and separating them from the chicks, the Barred Rock then attacked the hen from her own flock– the Rhode Island Red –and bloodied her comb. It was a bad scene which required further separation which meant a midnight bedtime for Mark and I which made me slightly irritable.
“Why couldn’t you just have listened to what Dr. Bruce said to do?”
“It’s not my fault that big mean black and white chicken attacked those chicks. She’s just big and mean!”
“She’s a Barred Rock, and we don’t know if she’s mean…yet. She’s just traumatized”
“Traumatized my ass! She’s mean!”
“Okay, then we’ll sell her on Craig’s List”
ABOVE: Mark holding Roxy. They both look mean to me 🙂
I do have to admit, she looked pretty vicious and I was having my doubts, but doggone it, she is a great layer and she likes me. She lets me carry her around and we have long talks out there in the mini-barn she’s been confined to. She really loves to talk, and she sounds like a woman who has simply been through too damn much. She doesn’t need a bunch of kids (chicks) messing in her run. Sometimes I feel like taking a good whack at my partner from time to time too, so we understand one another. I’ve decided she is going to stay and I’m going to do my best to help her work out her issues. Mark named her Roxanne today, and we’ll call her Roxy for short. I just couldn’t stand hearing Mark refer to her as “That big mean one” anymore. As for the Rhode Island Red, I just call her Mother or Mama. She just acts like a mama to me.
So far, they’ve laid pretty well. The RIR doesn’t seem to lay as often as the Barred Rock, but we’ve gathered close to a dozen eggs in 8 days. I’ve added some oyster shell to their laying feed to help with the egg shell. Today Roxy laid an egg membrane with partial shell which was pretty worthless. I hope all is well.
The coop is finished. The pen is finished enough to be used, but we plan on adding another layer of wire and trim to hold in firmly in place. In the meantime, the girls are only out during the day.
Photos of the coop to come!