I’m on spring break this week and working hard to get through the to-do list of chores around my place. I’ve organized the workshop, weeded, split kindling and helped haul a cord of bucked up firewood from the forest by wheelbarrow and loaded it into a wagon.
Today’s task is one I’ve been looking forward to. Tracy came over to help install new roost bars in preparation of integrating my teenaged pullets from my back coop into the main coop.
If you have chickens you know they don’t like disruptions in their routine. They generally start laying in the morning and our reno project meant two people being in the coop for a couple of hours. Tracy is the carpenter. I’m the gopher. That required both of us going back and forth finding supplies and tools. My hens aren’t crazy about an audience while they are in the nest boxes. They squawked. They paced. They came in, and out, and in, and out. They glared. And finally some of them found alternatives to their usual places to lay.
Pip, a Silver Spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben x Easter Egger, was trying to make a nest out of some garbage bags. Some how she got her upper body trapped in the bag and didn’t seem to know how to get out. It was only funny because I was there and able to free her, but the end result could have been tragic. It’s easy for birds to get stuck in a plastic bag and suffocate. Ordinarily, the my birds wouldn’t have had access to the storage part of the coop.
My White Ameraucana has been sneaking into the forbidden side of the coop every chance she gets and has been making a nest in this flake of alfafa. No sooner had she gotten comfy, when she was joined by Pixie (Mille Fleur D’Uccle x Ameraucana) and Pip. If you look closely you can see the white hen down in the corner.
They harassed the Ameraucana hen so much that she vacated the coveted spot. Pip quickly move into to take her place, and then was joined by Pixie.
The next time I looked, both of them were gone and in their place were two eggs: off-white (Pip) and blue-green (Pixie).
And once again, the Ameraucana came back to claim her nest site. Unfortunately by then it was lunch time and I had to close the coop up and remove her from the nest.
I’m not keen on allowing the hens to lay anywhere, but the nest boxes. If I see them elsewhere I try to block their access or lift them off their makeshift nest. Today was an exception.
I hate to tell them that part two of the roost bar installation is scheduled for tomorrow. I’m prepared for a lot more bitchin’.
Day 2: We were back at it again. Pixie made a beeline for the alfalfa nest and laid an egg in record time. Mercedes came to check out the nest but opted for the nest box. Some hens were determined to lay in the nest boxes and pretended we weren’t even there. She didn’t even blink with all the drilling going on overhead.
When the project is complete I’ll post before and after shots with some info about what roost bar systems have worked, or not, for me.