Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Chicken Elevator

One of the chickens in the buckets on the back porch decided to sit on eggs. The other chickens still wanted to lay eggs in her bucket, and you get one irritated chicken, aside from eggs that all start at different times... so during the day, we covered her up with a screen, and kept food and water in the bucket (which she never touched) and took off the cover at night. She stayed tight while racoons took eggs out of the buckets next to her, and only left every few days to stretch her legs and get some food and water. In time, 2 of the eggs hatched, and she spent 3 more days on the nest to make sure the others weren't going to hatch, and it was time to put the bucket down on the floor. The babies were standing on mom's back, and were eager to get out into the real world.

I put the bucket on the floor of the porch and gave them water and food, and they drank and drank, and mom showed them how to peck at the food, and scratch, all the while making the mom noises, so if they hear it, they come running back. We try while they're young, to pick them up, but unless they see a need, they avoid us. The need came that night, when they found out that mom could get back into the bucket but they couldn't.

It took some patience to coax the babies from the back of the bucket, it took a fast grab the first night, a slow grab the second night, and by the third night, they individually waited their turn for the chicken elevator.

I leave some eggs in the other buckets that are still up on the pass thru bar, just in case the raccoons wander back in, I dont have to cover her at night, because if the 'coon has the choice between an easy egg and an angry chicken, they'll pick the latter. I also leave the back door open, and Mona the poodle patrols. There are 2 other chickens that sleep on the back porch as well, but thats another story for another day. (the chicken coop out back holds the other 13)