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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mennonite Lucy and Ethel in the Henhouse



Two new girls--Lucy and Ethel

I got two new hens today. (written three weeks ago. I hope they are hens. Anyone have an opinion just looking at them? I got one with a rose comb, so I had no opinion on that chicken. I turned down the hen with the larger comb that was the same size as these two. I want eggs not crowing.
 
The Mennonites have chickens of about 6 different ages. I thought they let their hens hatch chicks. However, one of them told me they get the eggs elsewhere and use their own incubator. I really like the ten I got before. Thelma and Louise and Fancy (deceased) are from that bunch I bought as day-old chicks.



This square yard looks like a stockade.
 
house inside stockade
 
 
Inside little house was a platform with a hole about the size of a plate in the top of the platform. the littlest chickens ran into the hole. We managed to frighten some of the hens into the stockade. We did not try to scare them. At any rate, the chickens ran into the little house as he approached and then into the hole in the platform.
 
I had a business meeting over coffee at Berkley Bob's Coffee Shop. Since the catching took so long, the chickens sat in the box in the car while I talked with my recently-arrived friend from Romania, Johan,  and a publisher, Fred. We are all authors. Berkley Bob knows Fred and me. He introduced Fred to a man sitting behind us, a major author with a major publishing house. After a bit, the wife said they had to go because they had two dogs in the car.

"Well, I have two chickens in the car."

The wife was astounded. "You are kidding?" Really, you have chickens in the car?" We all had a good laugh as I explained to them my chickens in the car. They couple thought I had them running loose in the car! They were relieved when they heard they were in a box.

Once I got Lucy and Ethel home, I put them directly in the pen as I let Thelma and Louise out. Louise was hell-bent on destroying them both through the fence. Lucy tried to get out the crack in the door frame.

Since then, I have had to endure watching the abuse Louise meets out each day. Thelma is not quite so hell-bent on denying the new girls food or a peaceful moment.

At dusk, long after Thelma and Louise wanted in the pen, I took food and let them in. Louise was beside herself, distraught and angry. Lucy and Ethel were just terrified. I sat and watched. Finally, Thelma and Louise went to the top Rubbermaid box and tucked themselves in. Lucy and Ethel just huddled on the ground. (sigh) At 1 am, they were still on the ground. They are too frightened and too fast to allow me near them. The next week they slept on the table on which the Rubbermaid houses sit.

The first really cold morning I went out and no one was in the henhouse or the pen. They had vanished. In the center of the pen were piles of feathers. I was baffled as there was no "body." Nothing had been breached, top or bottom of the pen. I called them and there was silence. Finally, I looked in the garbage can placed in the pen for them to sit in during windy times or to sit on anytime.

Thelma and Louise just looked at me. Finally, both deigned to come out. But, Lucy and Ethel were nowhere to be seen. I looked in the garbage can again. There they were--Lucy and Ethel, smashed against the bottom and side of the garbage can. They looked squished and sat upon. I was talking to Thelma and Louise and noticed Thelma had only one small tail feather.  I had slept late, so I am not sure what transpired or who pecked who.

Layout of hen pen. There is another box on top of the visible box.
Lucy and Ethel, still in shock and fleeing me.
Box under table is their carriage home.


Since Thelma and Louise are so aggressive about the food, I feed Lucy and Ethel on the back of the table behind the Rubbermaid box, right where they started sleeping. Now, they hop up there, looking for food. They new girls did not eat for 24 hours. They actually looked dazed, in shock. Now, they are scratching up the yard of their pen, trying to sneak in close for food.

Lucy and Ethel eat behind the nest and sleep boxes
so Louise cannot chase them away from food.
Since I got new chickens (no guarantee they are girls!), Thelma and Louise have not tried to sleep on the porch rail. I suppose they think they must go defend their home and claim their place. One night it was almost pitch dark and I had not shut them in the pen. Lucy and Ethel were not sleeping on the back of the table! I could barely see and hear Thelma and Louise cooing to me as they stuck their heads out. I went back inside, returned with a flashlight, and found Lucy and Ethel had taken  up residence in the bottom Rubbermaid box, the nest for egg laying. Whew!

So, since October 30th, we are a four hen residence again.

Your turn
Do you find it hard to watch as your hens work out the pecking order? Got any new hens or animals?

 
 
 







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