CHICKENS! (from the archive)

I picked the chookens up the day after my birthday, so we've had them here for about 10 days and I'm still reasonably besotted.
Chook looking pissed off after
spending 40 mins in a box.
The people we picked them up from (City Chicks in Marsden Park) were just lovely. They showed me how to clip their wings, they let my little boys go exploring in their yard, showed them baby chicks and the advice they gave about feeding and husbandry all seemed very sane and matched with what I have read already.

The henhouse
We got home late afternoon and popped them in the coop. I fussed around trying to make sure they knew where food and water was located (we are using Dine-a-Chook and Wet-a-Chook for food and water - a bit different to what the chooks were used to, so I put some scratch grains (AKA chicken treats) around the feeder and even inside the feeder and the hens got the idea at once). The black chicken (an australorp cross) managed to escape and I realised that she was the feisty one. The kids had their first lesson in chicken catching (slow, quiet, no sudden movements and try to corner her) and I discovered that hunting a black hen through the shrubbery at dusk was something akin to trying to catch a shadow. Luckily it only took us a few nervous minutes!

The next morning I heard some noisy clucking, and when I went to check on the girls I found TWO EGGS! 
First Eggs!
We haven't had two eggs every day since, but we've had one egg most days (and one hen hasn't come into lay yet). When chooks are stressed they stop laying, so the fact that despite the big move, and despite the kids wanting to pat them and talk to them they are still laying, albeit not perfectly regularly, is fantastic.
Six year old learning to catch and carry a hen
They were named mostly by the boys - Kiz sayd he wanted the brown chooken to be called Henny Penny, so that was fine. I wanted the black one to be called Kali and Asher wanted them all to have the word 'hen' somewhere in their name so the Light Sussex became Henrietta and the black chicken became Henny Kali.

So far the thee chooks are doing everything I'm 'paying' them for. Providing eggs, teaching the kids about caring for animals and providing all of us with amusement (Asher said to me yesterday "We have the most fascinating chooks mum!"). Of course, I now need to get the planned raised beds with bird netting sorted pronto, and some more fencing organised - the chooks are scratching up my seedlings, stomping on my new lavender, discovering new and creative ways to escape, pooping in  remarkably inconvenient and I strongly suspect Henny Penny has started laying her eggs under a bush or somewhere because the last few days have only been one-egg-days. Despite all that, they are funny and friendly and the whole family is glad we have them.

The girls saw the treat bucket!

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