We keep chickens.
They lay a little; we get three to four eggs a day, and have been as high as eight. We have rebuilt the coop three or four times, and have a good sturdy one now that has the added benefit of being portable, so we can move the coop off its base and scoop out the nitrogen-rich (but very smelly) compost there. Good for the garden. And the birds are almost family. We love animals here. Except dogs.
But there are problems in the flock. One of our chickens has been picked on so much she huddles in a corner of the coop and will not move. We got her out of the coop and she’s outside now, getting water and food, but not moving about much. Perhaps she can be rehabilitated, perhaps not.
This isn’t too uncommon. There’s a specific pecking order – that’s where the term comes from – and it’s not healthy. Two of our chickens are fairly free-range, as in they know how to get out of the coop and run about the neighborhood. When we get them back in, they don’t get on with the others at all. They aren’t part of the flock. But it’s spring planting season and they can’t be out in the wild eating people’s peppers.
We’re going to try a small side coop, and rotate the chickens through that in the hope that we can identify our four or five layers. We need to know who is laying, and who is dinner. We’re all about laying chickens, not freeloaders.
Gabriel still limps a bit, when he’s tired, and he doesn’t run fast, but he is running about and gaining confidence with the leg. It buckles on him occasionally, but not very much any more. So all in all, if he’d stay in his bed at night, we’d be almost back to normal.