March 30th– The girls have been here one week. They have settled and one little one, the smallest one, is giving us an egg every day. The others are busy with other things. They have not been using the ladder to come out in the morning, they have been flying down.
The egg layer goes back up around 10:00 to lay her egg and she is the only one using the ladder. In the evenings they have been huddling in the sand pit under the coop and I’ve had to crawl under there and get hold of them one by one to put them in the coop for the night.
On my teaching nights I was doing this at 11:00pm on my way back from work with a head torch.
So today I made and fixed a hinged wooden screen that was open and up all day giving them more shade which they love as it makes them feel safe, and around 6:00pm I closed it so that it blocked their way into the sand pit with nowhere to hide such that they had to use the ladder to roost.
When I went there tonight 3 out of the 4 hens were up and getting ready for the night. Relief. The big silver hen was trying to work out how to get up there but was getting frustrated so I picked her up and put her through the hatch door. It will be interesting to see if tomorrow she manages to do it…they learn a lot from copying each other.
They are very sweet though. When I pay them a visit which is about 10 times a day, I sit in their enclosure and observe them. If they are in the sand pit then they will come out to see if I have something for them. Then they stay out for a while and feed. They are now used to my presence and seem to enjoy hanging out under my seat and between my legs looking for goodies.
They usually spend 10 or 15 minutes feeding and scratching and scratching and feeding until they run to the sand pit in the shade to groom and sleep. Sometimes they simply lie on one side in the sun, close their eyes and open their feathers to let in the warmth of the sun and it’s so lovely when they do this next to me.
April 6th– Two weeks today: The routine has settled in and out of the coop and the ladder is well used now. They all fly down in the morning except for the silver hen that uses every step very elegantly I may ad. Our egg layer is definitely the brighter one. She is the first one to run to me when I open the door of their yard as she knows I probably have some offerings: a few snails or some worms from the compost heap. She is also a chatterer. She doesn’t stop chatting and even Karen who came to visit for just a few minutes yesterday commented on her being so talkative.
The little brown hen has had a runny nose for a few days now. I first thought she was sneezing but after hearing a chicken sneeze on line, I was relieved to know she wasn’t sneezing. I made some thyme tea for them all and that should help.
In the evening around 6:00pm I bring down some dried flour worms and do a little training with the 2 brown ones. They are the only 2 interested in my games. And as they love those treats, they would do anything to get some and they now take them from my fingers. The egg layer jumps up for it and I’ll find out how high she can reach in a few days…. The other 2 hens are a little shy still to get involved.
At 8:00 this morning the Sussex hen didn’t come out. She had her head under her wings in the coop and was sleeping. When I went back at 10:00am she was still up there with no sign of wanting to come down and feed…. I hope she is ok.