Finally, the chicken coop is nearly completed. It's been a long wait and at times I thought Sam and Harley would never finish it. But, it's all come together very nicely. Nicer than I ever expected, especially since all of the components of the coop are from salvaged pallets, wood and other odds and ends. Even the roofing and partial and plywood interior. Those are some to the things that make the coop so awesome. It's a welcomed edition to the garden and the hens are going to love their new digs.
At present all of the hens are living in our home garden-the Reds inside a big cage and the Littles inside a cold frame. Actually, there are three cold frames in the garden, but it's hard keeping them quarantined to the individual frames because they prefer being together.
Every morning I sit outside with the hens so they're able to eat and forage the garden free of cats, dogs and an occasional coon that shows up in the day! Yes, they're not afraid to occasionally come out in the day time-especially if they believe they have access to an easy chicken dinner.
I'm pretty much in the process of changing my front garden into primarily a hen garden. There's lavender, sage, oregano, thyme and basil there, but also a rhubarb garden (which I've heard I should not feed to my hens--they leave it alone naturally), a rose garden, raspberries, mums and salvia. The honey bees occupy an area in the back of the garden.
The chickens really enjoy the garden--they way I wish I could. They stroll in it, lie out under the rose bushes, bury themselves under the giant sage plant, bath in a barrel of soil to clean themselves, play on a mound of hay next to the grill, search for food to eat and run and play at will.
Surprisingly the smaller chickens don't spend as much time perching-as do the Rhode Island reds, who love perching on a tire belonging the Big Baby.
The little ones spend most of their time exploring and trying to ease into the Reds feeding and watering area in the rose garden. I should mention the Japanese Beetles haven't had a chance in the rose garden since the chickens discovered them there!
Back the "easing," initially, the Reds didn't seem to mind the Littles coming into their territory, but that didn't last for too long. Now, they make it a habit-one in particular-to run the Littles off, quick.
As a result the Reds rule the garden. The Littles must wait to eat and are relegated to certain areas of the garden---until the Reds decide they want to explore there--then they chase the Littles off.
BUT, I guess in the land of "chickens" because no one has gotten hurt---it's all good. They manage to co-exist.
All seem happy and healthy. I gave the a vitamin supplement pack twice. It came from the hatchery. They love eating watermelon, herbs, crab grass and foraging for bugs in the garden. I haven't seen any find a worm yet. There are no signs of mites, fleas or anything like that. Don't get me wrong--chickens are natural magnets to flies and flying insects. I'm not saying there aren't flies and flying insects around. Just nothing out of what I'd expect to be normal.
I clean their areas regularly--the Reds daily and have been using garden lime to keep smells and some insects in check. I read that it's okay to sprinkle chickens with sevin to help control fleas-so I've also done that. I also keep an eye on their legs and feet to make sure there is no sign of scale Their eyes are bright and shiny. As far as their behaviors-they all seem to be pretty happy! They don't make alot of noise---unless I'm late feeding and watering them.
The birds are now very familiar with me, but still a tad bit "cautious". The Reds spend a great deal of the time watching and following me around. They'll even sit at my feet and peck on my shoes to get my attention. The Littles aren't afraid of me--but they'll still run away if I reach out to touch one. They prefer to come to me and "inspect" me.