Sunday, May 9, 2010
Chickens, Chickens and Now More Chickens
I let my 8 hens roam around the backyard a couple times this week. Tonight I had them in the backyard, and they would go back and forth from one side of the yard to the other, pecking at the grass the whole way there and back. Then I herded them all back into their coop and opened up the door to the garden. My strawberries are very established, my peas, lettuce, spinach and onions are doing well, so I thought if I stayed in the garden with them I wouldn't have to worry about them destroying my new vegetables. I didn't have to worry. They cultivated my strawberries and even ate some of the eggshell I put in with the strawberries to keep the slugs off the berries when they grow (eggshells are sharp on the slug's skin and are therefore harmful to slugs so they stay away). I watched one chicken carefully make her way between the row of romaine and spinach, scratching up the dirt the entire way looking for worms. I had to tell only one hen (I believe it was Stoogy) to stop eating the spinach. Finally, I shut them all in their own coop. Later this evening I scrolled through Craigslist and found 3 more free hens. They are 4 years old, and Ameraucaunas. I just returned from picking them up, so now we have 11 hens. They may be older, but if they remain healthy and happy, they will continue to lay well until they die. Right now, the one Ameraucauna is puffing herself up and establishing herself as high up the pecking order as she can. For tonight the light in the hen house will remain off so they can at least get some sleep.