For those of you who know me from my Facebook Page, Willamette Valley Homesteader, you may have read about my upcoming adoption of an allegedly egg-eating banty hen. Yesterday, hubby and I made the journey in a borrowed pick up truck (that’s right, we currently only own an SUV and a bicycle) to pick up hen and tractor.
When we arrived, we realized the tractor base was far too wide to fit into the truck. The tractor really wasn’t in great shape anyway but the plan had been to keep her in her own housing until I was able to break her of her bad habit (fingers crossed). After some hemming and hawing, the men did what men do, got out some tools and made ‘er fit by cutting off the bottom run, leaving only the coop portion and loaded it, hen and all, into the truck bed.
Arriving back at the homestead, I was confronted with a dilemma. No run. No way to get her in and out, to clean the coop, feed and water, or collect eggs without letting her run free. So I let her out (more about that in a bit). Found in her nest three intact eggs and zero broken eggs. I think her egg eating may have been just an occasional thing! She was getting inexpensive layer crumble and free-ranging plus foraging the cat’s dry food but no shell was available so I am hopeful that she just needed some shell and was being resourceful (an admirable trait). I cleaned her nest and marked the three who-knows-how-old eggs with a sharpie X, replenished food and water and set out to get her in for the night.
I should say here, that she MAY have gone in on her own after sunset but I knew her wings were NOT clipped and I was afraid she might either fly over into the neighbor yards. This would not be good. So, I rallied the troops and set out to catch the little speed demon. Did I mention she was a Banty? I don’t know if they are actually faster than other chickens but they are certainly quick and agile not to mention a very small target. I had not caught a chicken since I was a kid. When you walk up to Helen, she just crouches down and waits for you to pick her up. After much giggling and some slipping and sliding, we finally nabbed her and clipped some feathers on one wing, then put her to bed.
I really didn’t sleep very well, fretting about how to deal with the situation. This morning, I donned my favorite Hee Haws and flannel shirt and headed out to check on her. Still no way to access the coop without letting her free so what could I do? Let her out. The more I considered, the more I felt that I should just bring the girls together in the larger area of the backyard and let them share the existing coop and run. (Acting on my gut here.) I hope it’s not a mistake but who gets through life without making those? As I post, the girls are happily hunting insects and seeds. Mostly they seem to be ignoring each other. I’m sure putting them in the same coop will bring another flurry of “excitement” as they establish their pecking order but for this moment, all is tranquil. More later…