A Suburban Farm of 6th Happiness.

New chickens!

by Alan - June 20th, 2011.
Filed under: Chickens, Turkeys.

Last month, I took in some chickens from a kind woman who had an egg farm but was moving out of state and couldn’t bring all of the chickens.  Among the hens, there are 9 Isa Browns, 2 Rhode Island Reds and 2 Bantam Sussex.  There are also two roosters: a big beautiful Rhose Island Red and a sweet bantam barred rock.

Below are the photos of the pens for the sheep and the chickens.  I took the first photo before I made the door.  When I bring home a new chicken, I use cedar the first time in the pen, and then switch to aspen.  Pine and Cedar is known to be harmful to small animals like rats, but those are in relatively small, enclosed cages.  Large pens with good air circulation minimise the dangers, and, I feel, are made up for by the benefit of repelling mites.  When we got our first rooster, Pasquale, we also got a chicken mite infestation that affected the cats as well as the birds.  Now I’m extra cautious!

Aspen which I’m using now after the cedar is, in my opinion, the best bedding: absorbant, doesn’t stink when it gets wet (Carefresh, a paper bedding always smelled horrible to me after just a few hours)  and of course, it is with out phenols.

The pens are only for sleeping in at night.  During the day, the hens “free range” in the back yard (1/3rd acre).  When chickens have access to fresh greens and a varied diet, the eggs have a richer, orangish yolk and are tastier!

There was a play set in the yard.  Under it is a sand box.  The chickens love to take dust baths in it.  The chicken wire in the photo keeps the sheep away from my tomatoes, which are just seedlings so far here:

The following photos feature the new roosters, along with the new hens and one of the Langshan we got last year, named Josephine (she is the black one). Introducing a new chicken to a flock can be tricky, as the established hens will peck her, sometimes to death.  There are two ways around this.  You can use a dog crate or fencing to separate them, while still allowing them to see each other and interact some.   After a week or so, put them together and supervise them.  Repeat if necessary.  The other method is to acquire and introduce several new chickens all at once.  This is obviously what we did.  With so many new comers, the established hens’ attention is so divided that no one chicken gets seriously pecked.

Next is the the Rhode Island Red Rooster.  I keep thinking of him as “Big Red” but that’s such a sophomoric name, I want to think of something better for him before this name “sticks”.  I don’t think I will end up naming the Isa Brown hens as there are 9 of them and they pretty much look alike.  The two Sussex and Rhode Island Red hens though will eventually be given names.

This is “Wind Up Toy”, the barred rock rooster.  He is a speedy little guy:

Here is “Toy” with an Isa Brown hen, and one of the bantam Sussex in the back:

Since his mate died, Charles, the Turkey,  has decided that he is a chicken, and acts every bit like their rooster.  When we introduced the new birds, he immediately had to assert is position to the new rooster.  I kept an eye on them, and neither was hurt (but a few feathers were lost).  They have since worked out their differences.  The first image amuses me; it looks like they are observing dueling etiquette and bowing to each other.


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