Friday, June 30, 2006

the chicken diet

Our twelve hens are settling in down in the coop. The girls grow visibly larger almost daily, and have a list of new tricks. They now roost on the roof of the nesting boxes, on the ladder leading to the door (and the outside world), on the concrete block ledge that runs around the perimeter of the coop - just about everywhere but on the roosting bars I built for them. Joan Jett, the alpha hen, has taken to standing on top of the metal capped feeder, perhaps to get a better view of the flying bugs. Their diet has been of a pretty high quality lately, including arugala and brocolli rabe which had bolted, honeydew melon, snails, grasshoppers and whatever hapless bugs wander into their pen.

Our favorite remains Petunia, the little one, who is always first to greet us at the door of the coop, and who allows herself to be picked up easily, while the others require some serious chasing. As a result, Petunia gets the majority of snails.

It will be another week or so before we can release the hens into the outdoors. Hopefully they will be mostly safe, and return home without too much coaxing. Raleigh (our terrier mutt) remains intrigued by the hens but, so far, not aggressive. We'll see what happens when they meet without twisted wire between them.

1 comment:

Scott Brown said...

Our hens didn't sleep where we wanted them to, either. We finally built roosts much higher up and in various configurations. On the fourth try we hit a combination that works for everyone and with room enough for them to maintain the pecking order at night.

We also ended up suspending their food from a chain so no one would sit on it and defecate into the grain.