Our two new chickens are going to be trouble, I can see it coming, well to be more specific one of them is trouble already!
We usually get our chickens from a breeder at point of lay however my friend had a crisis, a 22 unplanned baby chicks sort of problem! To be fair this was from two hens who had arrived in similar circumstances but it was a bit of a shock to go from four hens and a rooster to twenty-seven, never mind the logistics of housing them! I have to say this is the disadvantage of having a rooster and completely free-range chickens!!
The chicks were about 10 weeks old when we chose them, purely on colour I have to confess. They are a bit like a light sussex with some extra gold flecks on them, very pretty. The problem is that we are HOPING they are both girls, but we don’t know… I’m not naming them until we know, so at the moment they are Orange Legs and Pink Legs!
They have been in the inner coup for about three weeks now, giving them a chance to grow a bit in size before joining the rest of the flock. It also meant they could be seen but not henpecked, so the rest of the chucks got used to seeing them around before they were fully integrated.
Today we opened the coop door and let them out into the big wide world…Orange legs immediately strutted out as if he/she owned the place, Dottie and Clementine very quickly put the newcomers under no illusions as to their position in life. This is despite Dottie looking rather bedraggled in mid moult.
Watching chickens sort out the pecking order is not pleasant to watch, as the newbies pass they receive a sharp peck to the back of the neck, emitting a loud squawk in protest, sometimes they run round in circles as which ever way they go there is another chicken waiting to assert her authority. The worst bullies are usually the ones currently at the bottom of the pile, they are determined they are not going to stay at the bottom, this is Ivy at the moment, whereas Kylie (blame my daughter for the name!) has given up already, she’s staying at the bottom.
Sexing chickens is not easy, apparently cockerels have pointed neck feathers whereas hens have rounded ones, I was looking at ours today and I think they look more rounded than pointed, or maybe I’m clutching at straws! Orange Legs could just be a chicken with attitude, we’ve had those before, Tallulah comes to mind.
She was a character and a half, when we first raised the fence round the run so they couldn’t fly out she stood on the top of the coop, plotting how to escape, which she did several times until we worked out her route down the back of the compost heap, through the hedge, shuffle along the hedge bottom and into the garden!
It took three attempts to get the newbies to bed this evening, they decided to roost on top of the run. Yesterday they were cuddled up next to each other so I quickly grabbed them both together and popped them through the poop hole. Today was not so simple, they were at angles to each other and they saw me coming! I decided to concentrate on Pink legs, one quick action and she was in the coop, but Orange Legs had done a runner under the rose bushes, egged on by squawks from Pink Legs from within the coop. I decided to return after dark, Orange Legs was roosting quietly on the roof again until I was within reach then it was a quick flight to the rose bushes. I sent OH up, he returned after two minutes with a satisfied look on his face, ‘Well, it didn’t see the fishing net coming’
I do hope we have two girls, even if one of them has an attitude problem, we should know in the next six weeks or so. If we have a cockerel then we have to resort to plan B and unfortunately plan B hasn’t any further detail apart from we can’t keep a cockerel…I guess we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it!