We have been running with two chooks in our hen-house since last summer. Raven (a pure-bred Australorp) has been the boss of the house, but she has only had Harriet (our Barnevelder hen you can see in the background of that shot above) to keep in place. Now we have introduced two new young hens to our flock! Please welcome Matilda and Rose:
Matilda is a White Leghorn. Isn’t she beautiful? Her comb and wattle are quite well grown and nice and red, so she may start laying soon, if she isn’t already. We think she could be about 24 weeks old. Rose is a Rhode Island Red, and a bit camera shy. She looks a bit like a kiwi at the moment because her tail feathers aren’t grown in. Her wattle and comb are less well developed, but she is possibly older than Matilda. We will see!
It’s lovely to have new additions to our flock, which was just too small with only our two grown hens. Whenever Harriet goes broody it was quite lonely for poor Raven, who would go adventuring in the orchard all by herself. This morning we heard a positive chorus of good mornings when the chookies all woke up together! The new girls found their way onto the perches all by themselves, which was great.
We also introduced two new coop items: a PVC pipe feeder, and a drum waterer with nipples. The new girls know how to use the new features, but the older birds are suspicious, so it means the young hens are avoiding being pecked at the water and feed stations. Win!
So far we have let them out a little and Matilda has ventured into the orchard with the others (they weren’t terribly impressed at being followed!). Rose is perched up in the nest box at the moment, chilling out, and keeping a wary eye on the floor below. Hopefully she will feel comfortable soon.
Update: I’ve already had to scoot Matilda back into the enclosure with the broom! Only out for a few minutes, and already she has found the weakness in our orchard covering! I’m still shaking from the fright. It’s not the same when your regular chooks get out, you know they will come back! Eep! Time to pull forward the plans to build a hoop-house over the orchard to cover the gaps!