A few days ago we got a message from one of our followers in Canada asking about how our, “girls were doing?” It has been a while since we last featured our chickens, so we decided to share some photos of our little family today.
The other morning I spotted all four of our babies hunkered down in the boxes of herbs we keep next to their coop. They were generally resting and preening themselves, so I grabbed the camera to get some photos.
As I walked up they all popped up and prepared to follow me around the yard. They are, in many ways, much like puppies as they always come running when Mary or I walk outside and then stay close by as we walk around. It is not only that they hope for food (although that is also true), but they genuinely seem to like our company.
If we sit down on a lawn chair, the chickens will take turns jumping up onto our lap and nestle in for some quality petting time like kittens do. But today the birds realized that I did not have food and was not planning to sit down so they set off exploring.
Some of our sharp-eyed readers may have noticed the green fencing that surrounds some of our plants. Apparently, certain plants are very tasty to chickens and they view our plants as a big salad bar. I was a bit late getting this canna lily plant protected.
There are new shoots coming up, so we are sure that this plant will recover.
I left some small maracuyá and grape vines out the first night we brought them home and learned that these were good eating! So, we proactively put up the protective fencing around our entire trellis to give the plants a chance to grow tall before the chickens can attack.
Other than that inconvenience we have found chickens to be great pets! One unexpected value of having chickens roam the yard is that they love to eat ants and other insects. They spend hours each day hunting and scratching about in search of bugs!
One of the things I feared when Mary spoke of getting chickens was just how hard would it be getting them into their coop each night? I anticipated nightly rodeos with this aging man scrambling around after chickens.
That has not been an issue. We keep their main coop door open all day to allow the birds access to their main food and water. As the evening sun begins to set, the chickens amble toward their coop and wait for us to come behind and latch the door shut. They have favorite spots up in the roosting area and hop on up the ladder without argument or prompting.
Then each morning we chop up some vegetables and toss it onto the front lawn. We then open the door and the chickens are ready for another day of foraging after a hearty breakfast.
I generally open both doors, but the more anxious ones prefer to fly up to the top door which I always open first.
And they’re off! A hearty breakfast of zucchini, brocoli, lettuce, and corn.
They do scratch and pick for the corn first, but they will eat every bit of this food and be asking for more by this afternoon.
Now to explain the title. Since we first started this adventure people have been asking us how many are hens and how many are roosters? We got lots of opinions from people who came to visit, but pretty much were told that we would just have to wait to see which ones started laying eggs and which ones started crowing. We were hoping for hens and so we check every morning for eggs in the nesting boxes.
So far we have seen no eggs, but two mornings ago Mary heard a strange noise and hurried back to tell me that one of our “hens” was trying to crow! This morning I was ready with the camera to get some video of the budding rooster.
Not bad for a youngster!
We will let you know when we start getting eggs, but we think we have at least two hens. Time will tell here where…
Life is good in Ecuador!