At ten this morning, I found myself hiking up the road–in my pajama pants and boots, carrying a big stick. I was walking behind the neighbor's teenaged bull, (who was once again in our yard), coaxing him back up the road and into the neighbor's pasture where he belonged. Mind you if this was the real deal, grown-up bull, I would NOT be doing this job. But this guy was young enough to not put up much of a fight besides a little head tossing and chomping of grass growing longer around the telephone poles.
Thankfully, my children are not at that age yet where the sight of their mother walking up the road, in her pajamas and boots doesn't completely mortify them. I know that day will come. I remember the days of mortification over the outfits my mother would wear to drive us to school. Even worse? When she'd have to drive us in the cattle truck–with its random outbreaks of a vibrating steering wheel you could hardly control and muffler that could be heard from two miles out. For now, I like to pretend that my children think my bravery and toughness is kinda cool, and they don't notice what I'm wearing. Please, just let me think that. Don't burst my bubble, yet. I have years of that ahead of me, I'm sure.
But this post is a chicken update! Enough with the bull…
Just days after I wrote about the joys of chickens in your bathroom I apparently reached my limit. I crossed my fingers and prayed that the temperatures were warm enough and the chickens feathered enough, and we moved the little girls out to a pen that sits at the back of our coop. If you ever find yourself building a coop, this pen is a great thing to have. It provides the perfect way to introduce new birds to your flock and allows them to get acquainted with their new digs before you let them go free range.
And did you know that the best time to introduce new chickens to your flock is after dark? Just slip them into the coop and when the next morning dawns, the original hens are less likely to make a big fuss over the newcomers. Apparently, chickens have some serious short-term memory issues.
The chicks did fine in the coop. We bedded them down with extra straw on a few nights when we worried about overnight temps, and tacked old yard furniture cushions over the window.
Not attractive, but effective.
Last week, we decided to give them complete freedom. We opened their door and let them see the true light of day.
Each day they get a little braver and now two or three of them are starting to venture outside of the coop, but still not very far. They still scurry back to their pen if I startle them. But curiousity always gets the best of them and they come out to see what goodies I might be offering.
It also turns out, just like last time, we're not looking at the addition of six new HENS to our flock. Turns out there's at least one rooster, maybe two.