Look, I wouldn’t have you think I’m a complete noob at this “poultry and livestock” thing. But my rural experience is pretty much confined to dealing with excrement. So even so simple food critters as chickens are an interesting and informative experience.
For example, it turns out they’re not quite as perfectly stupid as I originally thought they are. Almost. Very close. But not perfect. In a mere three months or so, I’ve gone in their infinitesimal minds from being “the thing we’re all afraid of” to “the thing that brings food.” It did take them months, but they did learn that. And they seem to have picked up on the fact that when I come into their yard in the afternoon, good food will mysteriously appear inside their coop so they should go there.
I build a straw windbreak for their little yard, but I’m thinking if the weather holds nice I’ll see if I can’t make something bigger from pallets. Landlady’s cool portable coop is lightly built at best, and although so far nothing new has fallen off I’d rather not be responsible when it does.
But first I’d need to get some actual chicken wire, which is in short supply. I can add that to the list of chicken-related things I need to acquire. More food first, but I also need to do something about their waterer which is plastic and won’t survive the winter. I priced metal ones at a feed store in The Wonderful Town, and they’re running like fifty bucks. So that won’t happen for a few weeks, and I’m just hoping we make it. Push comes to shove I can cut down a plastic bucket for them – or maybe a couple so one will always be thawed.
As the solstice approaches the eggs have fallen off a little, I’m more likely to get two a day than three. But they’re still pooping them out. The lovely thing about them is that while they’re not completely obnoxious creatures, unlike say kittens, they’re sufficiently stupid and unpleasant that there doesn’t seem to be a slightest danger I’ll have made pets of them by the time they outlive their usefulness. Hell, except the big scary one that keeps flying up to pull food out of my hands, I can’t even tell them apart.