Girls, Girls, Girls

Can you hear it? Can you hear me shouting for joy? I just picked up my first 5 chickens and they are amazing! I transported them in my car (in a cardboard box) and they were super quiet and possibly terrified. In fact, when putting them into the coop, two of them stayed in the box for at least two hours before venturing out. Two hours after that and they still have not ventured out into the run. Here are my beauties:

I was really careful to inspect the facilities and look at the chickens prior to purchasing. And the wonderful couple I bought these babes from passed every test. They only live about 20 minutes away which is great if I want to buy more. They said the brown ones are Rhode Island Reds but that they all are a slight barnyard mix since they don’t keep track of who’s who. They will lay large brown eggs while the White Leghorns lay large white eggs.

The Leghorns finally ventured out into the run and let the Red ladies know that the coast was clear. Once they inspected all areas, the pecking order began. That didn’t take long! It’s the largest Leghorn that is in charge for now. I know that females can grow their waddles in the absence of a male, but I sure hope the sellers didn’t lie to me. Take a look:

I want to start out with all hens and deal with chicks at some other time. This lady better start laying eggs, that’s all I have to say!

When the sun went down I was surprised that they didn’t automatically run for the coop… I actually had to coax them into it. The next morning, I woke up by 4:30 am and planned to leave by 6:00 to pick up 5 more girls. I opened the chicken door right before I left (at sunrise) and I expected to see them out and about when I returned. But they were still too shy about venturing out and stayed on the roost the entire time (3 hours or so). Baby steps I suppose, we’ll see if they have it figured out by the next day.

And now for the new girls: 2 Ameraucanas, 2 Wyandottes, and 1 Maran..? Okay, let me explain. I headed out to pick up my new girls and about an hour away I ended up on a beautiful ranch and met the sweetest couple. They had hundreds of hard-to-find breeds and were loading me up on the information for each. I knew I wanted the Ameraucanas, and the Wyandottes were a really great alternative to Hylines (my first choice), but that’s where it ended. So I made a last-minute decision to get that little cutie laying down on the left. Here’s a better pic:

She supposedly makes very dark brown eggs. But the name they told me escapes me! (I left my house in a rush and didn’t stop for coffee. I knew I should have stopped for coffee.) So I am assuming she is a Maran, though the pictures I’ve seen don’t match up. I’ll wait a bit longer to see if her appearance changes any. I opted for much younger chickens since they completely run out of these “highly sought after” breeds by the time they start to lay eggs. I didn’t want to miss my chance to have the egg rainbow. Also, the couple admits to not being the best at sexing so I may end up with roosters! That’s whatcha get when you respond “it doesn’t matter, I’ll take it anyway” because you skipped the coffee and your decision-making fails you. But whatever happens, I’m a happy mamma. All the way home I sang Motley Crew’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” and I’m sure I looked like a fool to the other cars passing by. This is my backyard brood and these girls rock!

The next day I planned to introduce them to each other after spending the night together. It was really hot the day before, so right before I let the little ones out of the cage, I pinned up this tarp to create more shade:

It’s working well and the ladies went right outside to enjoy it. Then the second set of little ladies joined them and all seems well. These bitties are less intimidated by their new surroundings than I expected. And yes, there are some pecking order issues still to be worked out… but I know they’ll take care of it. I’m looking forward to watching them grow and gathering the first eggs. And getting more! 🙂

*Update*

As it turns out there are two little ones that are just not fitting in well with the bigger girls. So I decided to put them into their own space:

They quickly tired of the small space and so we expanded it. (more)

The other girls know how to stand their ground and have no trouble fitting in. I think this Wyandotte is a “Gold-laced” variety..? She and her girlfriend stick together and really look out for each other. That’s what friends are for.

Although the Ameraucanas were the smallest of the bunch, this lady seemed to be okay with the old-timers. But she is still at the bottom of the rankings. I can hear her now, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful!” The other Ameraucana had to be separated and is much happier.