For those of you who enjoy my chicken posts, you'll like this one.
A while ago, I had phoned a hatchery to see if I could order "ready to lay" hens. This means they are about eighteen weeks old. Yes, I could order some, but they were sold out of the special breeds that I was interested in. I was put on a waiting list, just in case some people backed out of their initial orders. Instead, I ordered four Sasso chickens in the silver colour. They are a dual purpose breed, meaning they are fine for egg laying or for eating. Nobody gets eaten here, however.
About a week ago, I got a call from the hatchery reminding me of my pick up date, and also letting me know that the waiting list paid off and was I still interested in the other breeds: Lavender Orpington and Noiran (a Maran cross for those chicken ladies out there). Well, yes I was, but I hadn't intended to buy that total amount, as I didn't think I had proper room for fourteen new birds. I currently only have two old girls, one of whom does not lay at all, and the other occasionally lays a soft-shelled egg. (Remember, nobody gets eaten here).
In the end, I decided I would still get the four Silver Sasso hens, as well as three Lavender Orpingtons and three Noirans. Yesterday was the day to pick them up. I had two cages ready and husband and I took a road trip an hour and a half away to pick up the new girls.
Here are the four Silver Sasso hens.
In the larger cage were the Lavender Orpingtons (the light grey) and the Noirans (black with copper coloured heads).
When we got home, they were put inside the coop without the two older ones so they could acclimatize and understand that the coop was "home" (although I might be attributing too much thought into a chicken).
Initially they huddled in a corner, standing on top of each other, being scared. Little by little, they moved apart and spent an inordinate amount of time pecking at the walls. The black hens (Noirans) are the most inquisitive and "smart" and figured out food and water first. They others slowly followed suit.
Later in the day, I opened their little chicken door to provide them the opportunity of going outside in the run, and for the two older ones to check out the youngin's. That went pretty well, there's always going to be a bit of tussling.
The older hens (like many who are getting up in age) retreat to their roosts by 7:00 p.m. (even though it is still light outside), but the young ones stayed outside in the run, or moving about in the coop until at least 9:00 but eventually everyone went in. Most haven't figured out the roosts yet. That will come.
This morning there was lots of squawking going on before I got out to open up their little chicken door. One of the old ones is quite disturbed by the infiltrators now and gripes and complains whenever she gets the chance. Later this morning, as I was going to check inside the coop to see how things were coming along, I was shocked and amazed.
There was an egg on the floor of the coop, rather small. I think it was laid by one of the Noirans (black feathers) due to its darker brown colour. I wasn't expecting eggs for another four weeks or so, according to their approximate age, so that was exciting.
So there you have it, chicken fans. I now have ten new girls and two geriatric hens, for a total of twelve in my flock, with five different breeds. It's a proper back yard flock now!