The past few months with the chickens has mostly involved maintenance, with rare events worth mentioning. This month, however, a lot has been going on in the chicken coop so I thought I’d catch you up on their doings.

As you may remember, I separated Road Runner, the rooster, from the girls last summer. He was being too rough on the three hens (Eager, Caboose, and Pecky). Eager had been terrorized to the point she stayed in the nest box to avoid him. Caboose and Pecky had all their feathers stripped off their backs. Everyone needed a break from the rooster. Further, it was time for the new girls to be integrated into the flock. Road Runner would have made a mess of that, too. So he had a time out. I cleaned up the little coop (we used it the year before to quarantine the sick roosters) and he has stayed there ever since.

The integration of the new chicks with the older hens went well. The older ones were cranky about it for awhile but they were outnumbered so eventually just gave in to the reality of life. The flock was calm.

As it got colder, I began transferring Road Runner from his lonely bachelor pad to the coop at night, when chickens have no brains. Then he was put back in his coop in the morning. No drama, just sharing of body heat. We’ve been transporting him back and forth morning and night for the past three months.

Around Thanksgiving, hoping to re-introduce the rooster, I tried letting him stay in the run but he was a jerk and even pecked Miss Piggy until he drew blood. Then I tried to let him free range with the girls a couple of times but he just could not be a gentleman. He would catch a hen and viciously beat her up. Rooster on hen behavior can seem pretty rough but this was brutal. That was the end of mingling for him! At this point, I was seriously considering if this rooster had reached the end of the line.

Then came the night in early December when I brought Road Runner to the coop and discovered Miss Piggy standing in the run with blood everywhere. She’s the one with the distended crop that I had been struggling to resolve. Apparently in her efforts to hop up on the door frame to get into the coop, she had clawed herself and cut deep gouges into her breast and crop. I brought her into the house for the night. As I cleaned her up and saw how badly she had damaged herself, I knew it was time to let her go. I put her out of misery and she is buried next to Chrissy, who died in September. Rest in peace, Miss Piggy.

After a few more weeks of pep talks trying to convince the girls, “There’s 10 of you and only 1 of him. Don’t let him bully you. You can take him!,” I decided to just let flock work it out. The weekend before Christmas, I left Road Runner in the run with the girls. Amazingly, everything went fine. They have been together for over a week now, other than a few ruffled feathers, everyone has been behaving well.

Eager started laying again shortly after the rooster was banished and has continued to give us a few eggs each week. The legbars, Caboose and Pecky, however, went into moult and stopped laying entirely. I had 11 chickens eating my food and living rent free. Not a good scenario.

Things have started looking up though. One of the new girls started laying! On December 14th, we found a cute little sage green egg in the nest box with Eager’s brown one. Then the Thursday before Christmas, there were Four Eggs in the nest box! More new layers! One of the eggs we’ve collected even looked like it was a Pecky or Caboose egg (based on size). How exciting!

Brown and green and blue eggs!

Now that production is increasing, I’d better start gathering customers. Once all 10 hens are laying, I am going to be over-run with eggs.

What a good problem to have, don’t you think?

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