The addition of our new flock has meant lots of changes at the Chicken Corral, but everyone seems to be settling in quite well. The ten new birds (nine pullets and one cockerel) are being housed in the largest of the three enclosures in the coop, and they get the run of about half the chicken yard. The cockerel is one enormous bird - we know Ev was breeding in part for size, but holy smokes, that's one big bird! We have named him Pee-wee.
Pee-wee takes his rooster duties quite seriously. He's vigilant about standing guard: looking for overhead predators when the flock is outside, and watching over the two pullets who are laying, when they're laying. He is also starting to make his amorous intentions clear, which the pullets don't seem really thrilled by, but so far he hasn't been too aggressive.
The new pullets are calm and curious, and seem to get on well together. Two of them have started to lay - and I'm not sure if it's just a matter of them being new at it, but it sure seems a long and involved process. Lots of time is spent getting the nest just right, and finding the perfect position on the nest, and clucking just the right cluck before the egg finally materializes.
I got to see the whole show first hand the other day when I was helping Kim with the nest boxes in their half of the coop. We hadn't planned on doing anything with them until Ev told us they would need to be lowered, along with all the roosts, because the birds will be heavy enough to make jumping down potentially harmful. No problem, we thought, at least until we found out the boxes had been nailed to the studs rather than screwed to the studs - which meant that in the process of being levered off the wall, they got a bit demolished.
Since they needed some reconstruction anyway, Kim took the opportunity to redesign them with a hinged top, to make them easier to clean. Here they are: open...
Anyway (this is turning into a long story...) this all meant that two big human beings were tromping around inside the coop while one small pullet was trying to lay an egg. What a determined little thing she was! When her intentions became clear we put an extra set of boxes outside for her, but after a group inspection...
...she decided that humans or no humans, her egg was going to be laid in the coop! So there was Kim, kneeling in the pine shavings trying to get the boxes level, and right beside her was the pullet (now named Eva, which is the closest we could get to Ova without sounding just too weird), nesting and clucking away.
I never thought in a million years I would be someone who knows what a chicken sounds like when it lays an egg.