Has following this little dream been like one of those romance novels, where you know the ending will turn out happy- but you have to wait for 300 pages to find out? LOL
The flock stayed inside the coop all day Saturday even with the door wide open. (They were used to a windowless coop and a completely covered 'run' -thick black netting from McMurrays' Hatchery).
I had to entice them outside with some wild rice and lettuce scraps on Sunday afternoon. It still took 20 minutes for them all to come out, and they weren't familiar with a ramp, having been housed since coming as baby chicks on a ground floor environment, and getting back inside again meant they tried to JUMP over the large step rather than use the ramp. Even their nests were on the ground (they were stacked ones, and the second story was only 1 foot high off the ground.)
So, after they came out, only one ventured to explore their yard - see picture with Tazz... who thought that she was roaming free and that he'd get her. Grr. You can see how obsessed he is.
I figured they would either walk the ramp to their nesting shelf or 'flutter' down, so I put one on the ramp and she was not happy with that! She basically dropped to the floor, landing mostly onto her chest. Thump!
These are very heavy birds, and apparently don't fly.
They are so big, I actually first thought they were turkeys when I first saw them! (Most of it is the feathers).
But I am enjoying them. It makes me laugh to watch them scratch the earth, with their jerky movements, they look like little clowns!
Later, I captured another hen and put her head into a nest. She seemed intrigued and kept her head inside for a good 2 minutes, then pulled her head out and looked around and up to take note of all the other nests. By that time, I was trying to herd another hen into the corner to capture, because I figured the more that knew of the nests, the better, but the other birds were headed out the door to escape the corner, and with my back to her, the first hen saw that the rest of the flock was leaving- and she jumped down off the shelf.
Yep, landing on her chest.
A terrible sound, let me tell you!
So today I'm headed out to move all the nests into a single line on that shelf, rather than stacked. And I'll try moving that ramp- and using a much more substantial board that has lots of 'grip' so they won't slip on it. And if that doesn't work to get them up on the shelf this week, then the nests will be brought down to the floor. I don't want them on the floor... will have to adjust the height some, just so I don't have to get onto my knees to gather any eggs.
No eggs yet! They've got to 'settle' a bit first - they were laying 4-5 a day.
The eggs should be a cream color.
The rooster has a very low-pitched crow, and pretty soft too. You can't hear him from inside the house. He's beautiful, but has dewclaws(?) that are almost 3" long!! Good thing he's not aggressive! I'll get a photo one of these days. He came with the name 'Dinomite' after Napoleon Dinomite. He needs a more regal name.
Unfortunately, I can hardly tell the rest of them apart at this point so naming them isn't really a consideration yet.
I'm pretty concerned about just keeping them alive, and do not feel at all confident even letting them out in their yard.