Hey all! Been a busy week on my side of the world. My rents sold their house so we helped them move. It was my first time away from the chicks for a weekend, and I'm glad to say my coop remains predator proof. I walk the perimeter almost daily to see if i can find any signs of digging, but haven't seen anything yet. Today, I took the day off and gave my wife a real "mothers day", since yesterday was spent moving and unpacking boxes. This afternoon, two of my Icelandic Roosters went to one of my coworkers, who breeds Black Australorps. Funny how it works, he agreed to take these so I didn't have to cull them, but when I got to his house, he had several 14 week old BA hens that he was going to cull due to not needing them. Lets say Im now the owner of two healthy BA hens. My birds are somewhere between 8 and 9 weeks, so the age difference isn't terrible, but the timing isn't ideal either.
Now, I read and read and read on introducing new members into a flock, and problems that can occur. At this time, the Australorps are significantly larger than my buckeyes and icelandics. I was concerned the new girls would come in and bully. the exact opposite occurred! My Roo gave the girls the business (as expected, and they established that line immediately), but the other girls were awful hard on the BA's all afternoon. Finally this evening, I went to close down the coop and they were all inside. I opened the door and they were intermingled roosting without too much noise or commotion, but I will maintain a watchful eye on this for the next few weeks. I know that this essentially is the opposite of what anyone would say to do, but I'm glad I did it, and I'm the type that has to learn from my own mistakes, so Ill hold my breath and watch and see.
Finally, Yesterday and today, I left the run door open for most of the day when I was home. It was really cool to see the chickens free ranging, and they barely touched the feeder so thats a nice perk! I had to laugh because while outside, two geese flew in low prior to landing in the field, I've never seen my birds run back inside so fast. Good to know they recognize overhead predators (even if they are just some dumb Canada's)
Do chickens tend to get enough grit naturally while free ranging, or do you guys leave some out to supplement?