After the cleanup from the chicken massacre, we made putting up a fence around the coop our biggest priority. I was sick and tired of losing perfectly lovely hens, hens that were reaching their laying prime, that we'd fed and cared for from their first little peeps.
Before we started the fencing project, we reassessed our goals and made some adjustments:
1. Just because we like them doesn't mean we need to keep enough to provide eggs for half the county. Yes, I enjoy sharing them but the cost of feed is going up....
2. Even though the auction has become a ritual date night, we don't have to get our fresh stock there. The few times a hen went broody and hatched one of our own eggs, provided entertainment and less work for us.
3. Keeping the chicken area of the yard small will give us room to have a pig pen "someday."
4. Guineas are fun but if they aren't going to be used for pest control in the yard, we don't need them.
With those thoughts in mind, we fenced off a small area for the chickens to roam and only bought a Barred Rock rooster and 2 hens to supplement the 4 hens that survived the attack. We also purchased a pair of Silkies for their broodiness tendencies. Unfortunately the hen was injured and didn't survive, leaving us with 2 roosters (we will see how that works out!) If we get the chance to add some meat chickens later, the area will be a little cramped but not for long and not unbearably so.
As for the birds, I'm not sure how they feel about their loss of freedom. The adjustment to the new ones went well-possibly because they were still traumatized by the attack. Laying has started getting back to normal and we're watching for the roosters to get amorous. We've already been graced with some awesome crowing. Once things have settled down, I'll introduce them to you!
And with that, 2 more goals for 2013 have been met! It was pushed onto the front burner a little sooner that we planned but there is a blessing in there- none of our little free rangers had access to the gmo corn that the big farm neighbor is planting in the field this year! (Good for us all!!!)