I wrote about the exciting, heart-pounding adventure it was to transport my chickens to their new home, but haven’t mentioned them again.
They are doing well, mostly.
After I typed that sentenced I glanced over at my unknowing dog who, even in the last slow blinks before sleep, charmingly met my eyes with a question. “Yes?”
Finn is good until he’s not. He runs far from the house, through high grass and in the woods, but as soon as you call his name you can hear the jingling of his collar heading home. Until you are in town. You call his name and silence follows, and your sister finds him happily greeting strangers on the street.
So many times I’d gone in to feed or water my chickens while Finn was outside and a simple “Stay.” kept him out of the chicken run. Until finally, I was wearing Margot in a baby carrier, and opened the door much too wide for a simple “Stay.” to be effective. Finn killed two of my chickens and completely removed the tail feathers from another.
The tail featherless-chicken is fine. The brown hen was old, came to my flock for free, and had never laid. One black astrolorp is the real damage, and after the incident occurred I was so upset by “the waste” of the whole thing, my husband skinned and cleaned the bird and someday, we will eat it for dinner.
Maybe some people will be outraged by my dog’s bad behavior, but I’m not. He’s not a farm dog, he’s a house dog. He’s extremely gentle and patient with my toddler, which is really his most important trait. Dogs can be trained not to kill chickens, I’ve read. But for now, I’m adding one more project to the list of improvements I’d like to make on my coop.
Here they are:
- Cover the run with hardware cloth and secure the wire mesh “walls”.
- Bury fencing so other predators can’t dig under the fence to get in.
- Hang Feeder
- Install gutter on barn, collect rain water, adapt barrel with a waterer and possibly switch to nipple drippers.
- Line nests with plastic nest liners
- Replace chicken run door
- and Finally, build a small gate in front of the door, to prevent any door dashing.
The last thing I want to say is, I love having chickens. I like adding chicken care into my morning and evening rituals. I love collecting eggs. I love feeding them food scraps, and maybe sometimes give them food that’s not quite old enough to toss, just because it delights me how they come running. I love taking Margot out to visit them.
I don’t have them named but I’m starting to tell them apart. I’d like to get more. Mostly, I’m still learning.