The Chicken B&B in my garage closed last month. It is mourned by chickens everywhere (in the backyard). The cats are kind of sad too.
Patience loved exploring the Chicken B&B.
I, on the other hand, am delighted! Chickens have been spending the night in my garage for a long time. You may have heard me tell the story of the day I had to tell my corporate boss that I couldn’t come in because chickens had taken refuge from the subzero temperatures in my garage. Since then, the garage has served as a haven for hot chickens, cold chickens and chickens who wanted nothing to do with the other chickens.
The B&B really took off this spring.
Things started to get out of hand earlier this year when Stray Chicken joined the flock. She wouldn’t sleep in the coop. She insisted in sleeping in a tree. We compromised and she set up a bedroom in a cage in the garage. Sometimes, however, she preferred to sleep in the baskets on the very highest shelf, as you can see above.
Every night, I would pick her up and put her in the garage when the others started roosting in the coop for the night. This is reasonably manageable with one chicken.
Next, Colleen the Broody Hen came to stay in the B&B.
Colleen joined us and then we had two hens staying in the B&B, which was alright because Colleen never did anything other than sit on her eggs and stare. But, of course, one thing led to another and two chicks joined her. That made a residency rate of four chickens.
(By the way, that little chick poking out from under Colleen is our own Little Red Hen!)
Colleen eventually went back to Easter Egg Acres with her little brood, bringing us back to one manageable chicken in the garage, but then something happened …
Little Red Hen grew up and came back to the Homestead!
Little Red is one of those chickens that makes you shake your head and wonder how you became so soft-hearted. She was about 15 weeks old when she arrived and she decided that …
a. She was still a chick.
b. I was her mama.
She would run to me whenever I came outside and hide under me if I squatted down. Sometimes, she even sat in my lap!
This little chicken spent her first few weeks with us hiding on the patio from the other hens.
It’s hard to be the new chicken.
She weaseled her way into sleeping in the garage by being distressed when I tried to put her in the coop. It worked. For weeks, I carried TWO chickens into the garage every night and out again in the morning.
In time, as with all animals, she grew up. Here is her first egg (next to another egg for size comparison).
It was a bittersweet time. She stopped hiding under me and started stealing hardware to bash on the ground. (I don’t know why my hens do that when they reach laying age, but they all do it for a while). One night, I picked up each hen and gently put her in the coop. Stray Chicken looked uncertain for a moment and then marched onto the roost. I was very proud of her.
Little Red Hen perched on a nest box. It was a wobbly spot, but it would do. Since then, she bravely settles into the coop each night … as long as I remember to open the egg door and she doesn’t have to use the chicken door.
All things in this world come to an end. At least until the next chicken arrives.
In memory of Marshmallow, Head Chicken
© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead
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