Monday, April 4, 2011

More Hens

I allowed the hens out of the coop this evening for about an hour, it is not a particularly nice evening being wet and miserable so I felt sorry for the girls and opened the doorway to let them stretch their legs and explore the garden.It took a few minutes for one of them (Shelly) to investigate the outside world, the others followed tentatively spreading their wings and flying awkwardly in short bursts.

On sat morning Kevin and myself headed down to Midleton to the Farmer's Market. It was early and the market was quiet,the serious shoppers were filling up their shopping bags.This is the poultry ark where the hens and ducks are on sale.We picked up 2 more hens and brought them home to introduce them to the others.I thought there was going to be a bit of a showdown as the newbies were blocked from the food bucket by the other two standing solidly in front of it!

Midleton is one of the first Farmer's Markets and continues to attract large crowds, ,most of the stall holders are sold out each day.There are organic beef and pork stalls here, the stall holders are the producers also and love to answer any questions about their products.
The poultry ark was always the centre of attention, the owner told me he had sold quite a lot of hens for Mother's Day complete with coops!

The hens were not long finding the flower bed, they are still clustered together even though they could spread out.The first two hens are the leaders it seems, the two newer ones follow along.
Shelley got into the coop on Sat night and sat in front of the doorway blocking entry to the others!After standing around in the cold they eventually pushed their way in, tails sticking out and D.Ais had to close in the door pushing them in while doing so.
I noticed one hen outside tonight for quite a while on her own,the others had gone inside and I began to wonder if they were blocking her from entering.I had a look inside and could not see where they were as it was nearly dark at this stage.I opened the nest box at the side and here were the 3 hens snuggled up together!The 4th one did not want to roost on her own I think, she eventually went in and I closed in the door.

7 comments:

Willow said...

The hens look beautiful and right at home in that bed. Have a nice day.

Jason said...

I am new to the chicken owning world. But how quickly you learn to love them and their funny ways. My 4 chooks were purchased all at the same time but one (heny peny) was slightly older than the other three. I thought she was going to be the leader, but no, she for many months was not allowed to roost on the post. Poor thing had to huddle in the corner. I am please to say they all roost tightly together now.

Phoebe said...

Hi there, I just found your blog through Jason.
Your Hens are gorgeous and I bet they loved the flower bed! Its great that there werent to many troubles merging the new girls in.

Ann said...

I really love hearing about your hens, hope it becomes a regular report! I was looking at two hens they had in a coop at the garden centre on Saturday - it's tempting but I must resist.

Kathleen said...

This looks like a lot of fun studying the various habits of each hen,amazing the way territorial rights have been established! How do you tell them apart they all look the same to me!!

Theanne and Baron said...

Oh Peggy I love your hens...the ladies will all settle down in time...but I think perhaps the leaders have been chosen *smile*. Can't wait till they start laying (or have they already?) The farmers market is wonderful and they sell meat too...and all grow their own. Imagine being able to talk to the person who grew the cows that the beef came from...how many years since that happened here in the US?

Peggy said...

Willow,thats what I am afraid of, that they will regard my flower bed as theirs!

Jason, you are a newbie like myself to the mysteries of chicken rearing!I would think all four of mine are from the same hatch as they are all alike and bought from the same breeder.

Phoebe, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.I did try to get the second string as quickly as possible because I had been reading about problems introducing new hens to a groupand yes they did like the flower bed!

Ann, there will be regular reports to keep you happy!

Kathleen, No need for TV, hours of fun hen watching!They are very territorial and have a 'pecking' order established, now I know how that expression entered the English language!

Theanne, they have not started laying yet, about another 2 weeks I am told!Hopefully they will all settle soon, at the moment 3 of them are roosting in the nest box!The farmer's Markets are really taking off here as people are getting more interested in where their food actually comes from and can be traced from producer to seller.