Well, I've really done it. I've been thinking about this for nearly a year, talking about it for the past several months, and yesterday it all came together.
We have chickens.
Say hello to the girls. At the far right in the back is Maisy. Near the front on the left is bold little Betty, and…well…not sure about the name for the third gal yet. All my friends are suggesting names, but none is really striking me yet.
These ladies were shipped from the Murray McMurray Hatchery in Iowa on Aug. 15 and arrived on my doorstep at about 9:30 AM the next day. They were very quiet in their snug little shipping container. When I opened up the top and began to reach inside to move them from box to Eglu run, they got a bit agitated. I was glad to find that I could slip the whole container into the Eglu run, tear down a side of the box, and leave them to exit the box on their own.
When I peaked back at them about an hour later, they were all outside the shipping box pecking away at their food and water. In addition to the laying feed in their food dish, I gave them some active culture cottage cheese topped with some raisins and a bit of leftover bread. By the end of the day, the cottage cheese mixture was thoroughly devoured.
The girls are technically pullets: immature hens. They should start laying in about 4-6 weeks. So, I must be patient…
They are a Rhode Island Red hybrid called a Red Star or Red Sex-Link. This breed is supposed to be hardy, friendly, and an excellent layer of brown eggs. As they mature, their feathers will become ginger-colored, with just a touch of white around the tail.
Introducing these girls to the canine girls, Hannah and Sadie, is going to take some time. I had to block off the side yard from the dogs since they became much too agitated and boisterous around the chickens yesterday afternoon. They charged the run and Sadie started barking a lot, which really worked the chooks up. The more agitated the chickens became, the more agitated the dogs became and it was not a pretty sight. I ended up physically hauling the dogs away from the run and holding them in place until all calmed down a bit and I could move the dogs out of the yard. Yes, I could have handled that initial introduction better!
The dogs have not given up in their quest to get to the chickens, though. Hopefully Hannah and Sadie will not drive me totally nuts today as they occasionally break out in a whining binge.