I’m a little surprised at how much I enjoy having chickens around. Our ten chicks have turned into ten pullets that are almost fully grown adult hens now. We still have all ten of them—no accidents, predators, or other attrition, although one of them had a run-in with a dachshund that luckily only ended in some missing feathers.
They’re entertaining to watch. We have a routine in place where they get let out of their coop first thing in the morning, and they’ll wander around the property in a flock all day and eat bugs. When it starts to get dark, they’ll all come back to the coop and head upstairs to roost for the night, and all I have to do is to lock them up. I never realized how smart chickens actually are, or that they’re social birds with a flock hierarchy. I’m also amused by the way they all come running when I set foot outside—I know they have learned to associate me with food, but it still makes me feel a bit like the Chicken Whisperer.
We bought a large garden shed, eight by ten feet, to use as a chicken house. Right now they’re still in their coop, but this weekend I’ll place the coop inside the new chicken house to get them used to the new digs. They’ll weather the winter better in the shed, and they’ll be safer from predators at night.
Of course, they’ll have to lay about three thousand eggs for us to save enough in grocery store egg purchases to make up for all the chicken swag we’ve bought to get the little cluckers situated.
Owning ten laying hens is definitely something that we couldn’t have done at the old place in suburban Knoxville. Ten acres out in the country leave one some room for agricultural experiments.
The ameraucanas have distinct plumage patterns, so they’re easy to tell apart. We’ve named all of them. The barred rocks all look the same, so they’re just about impossible to tell apart. Those are Clucky One through Clucky Five.