First, a disclaimer. Normally, posts about animals appear on our other site, Pirate Dogs and Pilgrims . But the dogs are upset with us and refuse to help out. Seems their mother has been taking the youngest, Beany Bacciagalupe, with her on her morning walks and the rest of the canines have gone on strike. So…….
Back in November, a new chicken yard was promised as a birthday present to the lady of the Shack. Last weekend (Feb. 19), it got built.
The old yard was based on 4 foot high fencing with a bird fabric roof that made it difficult to work inside of it. We’re a little old for extended duck-walking. Also there was no formal gate. One unclipped the “roof”, untied four rope strips from a fencepost near the small door the chickens use for egress from the coop, then pulled the fence aside. As can be seen from the photos, the new yard incorporates a 6 ft. X 6 ft. iron gate. Tres fancy for a barnyard. With higher stakes and fencing, now one can enter the yard just about fully erect. We ran the new fence outside the old fencing to add a little area in which the flock could entertain themselves.
Other Views of the Yard
As for the composition of the flock itself, there are several breeds, each with nicknames and different personalities.
There are 3 Buff Orpingtons—-the rooster, Brutus, and hens Sainte and Marie. (“We’ll make a space/ in the lives / that we planned…” Consult a folk music encyclopedia if you don’t understand the reference.) It’s hard to tell the hens apart out in the yard but in the nests: Sainte will let you get eggs from under her and is very calm; Marie will squawk and peck your hands.
There are 3 Transylvania Naked Necks, aka, Turkens–Ruby, Gloria, and Barbidoux. Ruby is red-tinged all over. Gloria is golden with a reddish top-knot while Barbidoux is golden and blonde. (We’re certain the kids favorite Language Arts teacher in junior high is thrilled with the compliment.)
Next are the 3 Cuckoo Marans, also called “morons” or “macaroons”. Again, hard to determine which is which at any time. These hens are pretty friendly, talkative, and lay lovely almost chocolate-colored eggs.
2 Banties are incorporated (sort of) into the flock. These came from a group of chicks we got for free from the feed store. Most of the chicks grew into roosters and we were able to return them. One of the Banties gets along with her fellow chickens; the other is called “the millennial” because she is obnoxious and spoiled. She is at the bottom of the pecking order so some of her angst is understandable. But this fact doesn’t make her behavior any less obnoxious when we try to clean the nests and she screams and demands separate dining facilities, even jumping out the open door of the nesting box if her demands are not acceded to immediately. A true millennial….
Silver-laced Wyandottes, 7 in number, make up the second largest grouping. These birds are garrulous , friendly to the point of being intrusive, and very good layers. There have been a few occasions when via a slip of the tongue they were called “Weimaraners” and that nickname has stuck and is used interchangeably with their actual breed designation.
Finally, 9 Rhode Island reds. Obtained as chicks from the person who built the coops. Good layers, difficult to tell apart if they are roaming about the pen, but with distinct personalities in the nesting boxes. Not sure how many are in each classification, but basically there are 3 personality types: the Photobomber–friendly to the point she will almost fall out of the nest to get attention; Squawky—-ruffles her feathers and screams bloody murder at the opening of the nesting box door; and Bitey–one does NOT put fingers anywhere in the nesting box unless one values those appendages naught.