CLUCK, CLUCK, CLUCK!!!
Things have been VERY busy on the Shawhan farm the past few weeks. Not only is it planting season, but it's also wedding season! So a congratulations to my friends Ashlie and Shane on their June 1st nuptials and another congratulations to Emily and Jeff on June 9th.
To take her mind off wedding trials, I invited Emily up to the Shawhan farm a couple of Sundays ago. We went to church in the morning and then to Frishes for a tasty Big Boy and fries. After that we came back here to relax and work some stress out of the bride-to-be.....
So I kind of USED Emily that day. My wheels were turning inside my brain after she told me she had packed a change of old clothes. We had been needing to move Flock 2 since the boys left but I wanted to be home most of the day and I wanted to move them in morning. I didn't know if cooping everyone up right away over night would have been a good idea. I don't know, maybe it all would have been OK, but I didn't want to take any chances.
Had I been thinking, I would have left the "chicks" (they aren't really chicks anymore...they are 3 months...old enough to inter grate into Flock 1) inside the brooder. That way all we would have had to do was lift the lid, remove a chicken and replace the lid until we came back for another. All along I had figured I'd be doing this solo, so I was very glad to have had some help!
I told Emily that in my chicken catching experience, it was easier to catch one when there were a lot in the pen. It gets harder when there are only one or two left. Also in my experience, you have to move fast and expect a lot of wing flapping and feather-flying. It also works well if you can corner the one you're after.
I'm sure there is a certain way experts or PETA would like you to handle chickens....I'm sure the pioneers would tell me I'm doing it wrong, but you know what I learned from my Ag classes in college??? If the way you're doing it now works, then don't change it. (Plus, there is more than one way to pronounce "tomato".)
I caught the first one, one of my nuggets (I love those...they are fast becoming my favorites). My heart was pounding as I put her down in the kennel area and to the birds of Flock 1. My little nugget looked so small compared to the older girls. I prayed she wouldn't get attacked as I left her on her own to go get some back-up...safety in numbers.
There was feather flying, there was squawking, there was wing flapping, there was running and chasing and giggles and cuss words....after handing Emily a few pre-caught chickens, she really got the hang of things. I knew Emily would be good at catchingchickens because she was excited to do it.
The chicks hated us for a few minutes, but after realizing how cool it was to run with the big dogs, they settled in nicely. Cadburry is a brave little thing...she was the first to venture into the coop and she's the first of Flock 2 to run after treats when I take them some.
The only bullying that I've seen go on is a speckled older hen telling the little ones they are getting too close....just a little peck that says "Back Off!"
I'm also wondering how many newbies get to roost on the roosting bars Grandpa Smith made everyone. At night when we tuck everyone in, it's all older hens roosting there and none of the new ones. Other than that, Flock 2 has blended in swimmingly. They have learned the routine and can't wait to venture out of the coop in the morning...though I don't think anyone has made it to the steer lot yet. With Flock 1 we had to literally throw them all out....then that night throw them all back inside. It's like you have to SHOW the chickens what to do, but once they learn, they don't ever forget! I'll see what happens as the months go on...it has been very hot, so none of the chickens are really going anywhere.
If you are looking for the Chicken Lady the next couple of weekends, I'll be walking down aisles!
...cluck... cluck... cluck...