Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Hen to Set" Saga: 1

As Daylight turns toward Dusk and the Chickens get ready for bed in the Main Chicken House, we Humans are anticipating a shift. We will move 6 Buff Orpington Hennies and 1 Freddie into the Rooster House. Why?

This year, we Newbies at these things are trying to get some fertile eggs to go under 1 Broody Hennie. The language in these parts is getting a "Hen to Set", which means that ideally we should have baby Chicks in a few weeks. For this to happen, we need Freddie to do the usual Rooster thing with the 6 Hennies. We are assuming he is fertile but we really have no idea. We need 1 Broody Hennie. Lacey is our 1st choice. To our delight, she is showing signs of broodiness.

The 6 Hennies are from the "top shelf" which is their usual roosting place in the Main Chicken House. In addition to Lacey, they are Sally, Kayte, Amber, Poulay, Honey. They were chosen because they are from the 1st year's group (Class of 2007).

So what were criteria for selection? Their molting patterns were within the normal acceptable range. Their personalities run the gamut. Some are shy. None are too aggressive. They are just nice Hennies. Melanie thinks that most of them are pretty good layers, but she really isn't sure. She laughs: "You'd think that would be one of the selection criteria." None have had problems with egg laying. They range in size but are within the normal range. Brownie is really too big.

In a few more minutes, the 3 of us will head out for the transfer. We are not sure what our roles are. Either Richard or Melanie will pick them out of their house and hand them over the fence to the other. I will monitor the door of their New Digs. After they are all tucked inside, Melanie will have a little talk with them to seal the deal.

Their New Digs, the Rooster House, is all set up for them. They will have sweet smelling fresh hay on the floor, makeshift nest boxes, an old saw horse for perching, the cat carrier for the broody hen, and a haybale for resting. They will have food and water with an assortment of their most favorite foods. They will stay in their luxurious coop for about 2 weeks. Melanie's intention is that they are spoiled in direct proportion to their significant role here.

Time to go.

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