More New Girls!

As we left off last, we were integrating 5 new hens into our existing flock of 8.  I am happy to report that all 13 girls are now one unified flock.  It took only a few days of Separation with Visual Contact to accomplish this.  We gradually let the new girls occupy larger areas and we actually got everyone on the same page by free-ranging all the girls together.  This way, they had enough space to stay separated into their groups, but had contact with each other.  No territorial issues when there's enough space for everyone.  We also moved the new girls' little red coop into the fenced-in area, so everyone was able to go to sleep/nest in the same general area.

Chickens are creatures that like to exist within a social structure--a structure, that is forever changing.  It has been super interesting to see who's been changing nest boxes, sleeping in new spaces and creating new alliances.  They are an endless source of fascination.

Let's talk about how we got to 23 pets in the first place. First of all, my best friend S is a veterinarian. So, yeah.  We take in a lot of strays.  Second, and probably more telling, Joe and I have struggled with infertility for 5 years.  We've been up and down every road there is on this journey.  We have a baby-sized hole in our hearts and we just keep shoving animals into it and hoping it will plug it.  It doesn't.  In the meantime, though, we end up with a lot of awesome animals!
Everybody likes corn!
Memorial Day, we went to Rooster Hardware to buy some chicken food.  There was a man from Urban Chicken outside, selling pullets.  We're obviously not in need of any new chickens (we have 13), but, you guys.  He had a Lavender Ameraucana.  Lavender.  Ameraucana.   I needed that chicken.  The Boxer Farm needed that chicken.  Hell, the world needed that chicken.  That chicken was FIFTY dollars. 5-0.  Fifty.  I bought it.  And a Speckled Sussex as a buddy, because you *literally* cannot just buy one chicken.  Seriously, you need to introduce at least two to a new flock at a time.
Laverne and Shirley.  Better photos to come when they leave solitary.

When we had acquired the 5 temporary girls, we had constructed a mini-sleeping area for 2 of the girls.  We used old pre-fab chicken coop parts and zip ties to construct a temporary, but safe enough dwelling for Frick and Frack inside our pen area.
Not pretty.  But useful.  And easily removable because we have temporary custody of some chickens.

Since all the girls have been sleeping together, we haven't been using this temporary structure. So we removed the door and added a run to it (with zip ties, obviously).  This is where we have put Laverne and Shirley for the time being.  They are both pullets. Laverne (Ameraucana) is 13 weeks old, but Shirley is only 6 weeks old (basically, a peep--she's still peeping).  This is probably where they will stay for a few weeks.

So, that's exciting!!!  I think my takeaway is that the coop is ever-changing.  We DIY our coop and it changes all the time.  I'm glad there are so many places we can add to, add a door, add nest boxes, etc.  The flock is always changing, and their accommodations must change with them.  It may not be the fanciest, but it's secure, the girls are happy and it looks like it belongs perfectly on the Boxer Farm!


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