Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chicken Coup Two

coup (kōō) n.
1. A brilliantly executed stratagem; a triumph.
2. a. A coup d'etat.
b. A sudden appropriation of leadership or power; a takeover: a boardroom coup.
3. Among certain Native American peoples, a feat of bravery performed in battle, especially the touching of an enemy's body without causing injury.
The coup has been a success! The chickens have landed or come home to roost or whatever you want to say--they are here! Dave is annoyed that he hasn't seen them yet. When it is dark they go into their hen house and put themselves to bed. He's only home when it's dark (long nights during the winter here, 5pm-8am.) Not wanting the chickens in the first place, seeing all the chicken stuff in the yard in the second place and having to put up with all the hubbub about chickens in the third place and then not even being able to see the darn things! Yeah, I suppose that's likely to annoy a man. He should be home Saturday during daylight hours; then he'll get to sight in his first chicken (ha, ha, a little hunting humor there.)

In the meantime I am carefully training Dave's dog (that I didn't want) to leave my chickens alone. First, I bought a no-bark shock collar. This thing is incredible!!! I should have purchased it ages ago! The dog is gradually learning to only bark when necessary. Second, I am getting him used to the smell of the chickens. I am letting him sniff and smell the area when the chickens are in their house. I have the kids hold the chickens and then go play with the dog. Third, I have been working on some focus training with the dog using Pepperoni, his favorite treat. He must sit and be calm before getting out of his kennel. He must sit and do a trick before coming into the house. He must go directly to his crate before going anywhere else when allowed in the house. Each time he is rewarded with a piece of pepperoni. This is all done with the chickens in their house for now. Eventually they'll be in their fenced in yard while he focuses on me (I hope).

We'll gradually progress to him watching the kids play with the chickens and then when he can handle that I'll have him perform his tricks while the kids are playing with the chickens (see if he can focus on something other than the chickens) and then maybe eventually he'll be able to be trusted alone with the chickens--MAYBE. It will take a while though. And as you know I can be very patient and persistent.

Here is my lovely coop. Designed and built by me--all by myself! The materials cost me $36 for lumber and $6 for the latches. The screening, hinges, screws, nails and roofing material were already laying around the house from other projects. I will be painting it in the Spring when it warms up enough for the paint to cure. I will use paint I've already got on hand from painting the house last year. It is 4 feet wide and 2 feet deep and the interior is about 3 1/2 feet tall. There is a roost inside and two nesting boxes with a hinged door to the backside so we can easily collect the eggs. It is small enough that they should be able to keep it warm enough with their own body heat unless it gets down past the 20's. There are 4 egg-shaped windows for ventilation and spying on the chickens all of which are covered with metal screen for security from predators during the night.

Here are my lovely chickens. They are from my friend Bobby's brood of Araucanas and Bantams. Yep, they're mutts. They won't start laying until late spring because they are still young. Afton says they are teenager chickens. They don't mind being picked up but mostly like to cluck around their yard and peck at the ground and eat. They are very cute.

We are still debating on names. Kirkham wants names like speedy and roadrunner and peck. The girls like Lucy and Red. Heath doesn't seem to care he just likes to watch them. It'll take me a while to figure it out. I hope they don't mind.

Read The Chicken Coup (part 1)

1 comment:

  1. hmm...that's funny, I use pepperoni to train Allison just like you use it to train Moe. By the way, what do you feed them? Do they eat table scraps?


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