Sunday, April 23, 2006

Additions to the Family

Yesterday I drove to Dennysville to see my chicken supplier, Bob Brown. I had the idea to get a blonde chicken like Annie. On the way I decided that I might possibly get two. Then Bob convinced me to take three. So I am back to my former high of five, which I find to be a very pleasing number--enough to seem like a flock without being too many to seem like individuals. Instead of trying to think up more names, I gave them the names of their look alike predecessors, Annie, Mary, and Esther.

The new chickens had never been outside, since Bob keeps his in a dark and dreary barn without so much as a window. They must have been quite shocked by the whole event, being dragged by their feet and thrown into a box, driven in a car for many miles, and released into the outdoors with two strange chickens. Hannah and Demeter did not exactly welcome them with open arms either. The two of them, who have become inseparable, made an ominous pair as they defended their territory. They flew at the newcomers, squawking and pecking at them. I left them to work things out while I went to a gallery meeting.

At the end of the day when I went to put them inside, Hannah and Demeter were standing in the doorway of the house, blocking the entrance. The other three were wandering around the yard looking confused. It was more difficult than I anticipated to persuade those two to back off when I tried to herd the newcomers through the door. They stood there like a couple of bouncers at a bar, refusing to budge until I physically pushed them out of the way. Even then theydid their best to make each of the new chickens feel unwelcome as she reluctantly charged through the door with me on her heels. They were all still alive this morning, though, and everyone seemed to have worked out whatever problems there were. They spent the day in harmony and all went into the house tonight with only a little argument from the two guards at the door. I did add another bowl of food and a second waterer in case Hannah and Demeter were not allowing the new ones to eat. I saw new Annie eating as I left, and new Esther having a drink, so I think all is well. Before next winter I will have to do a little redecorating in the chicken house. I think the floor space is a little small for five chickens to be "cooped up" in all the time. I'm visualizing some sort of loft idea--a second story. Posted by Picasa

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