The ChickensDoc


a bit of history about the chickens can be found here.

Production (as of 4/8/2008):

December 2007 35
January 2008 110
February 2008 108
March 109
Apil 34
Total 396

Adieu, Doc
It is with some sadness that I report the loss of Doc, our born-a-Buff-but-became-a-Rhodie (that's Doc up there).  Late in April, Doc died suddenly of an unknown illness.  My good friend Carolyn suggested a necroscopy to discover the cause, but she has a farm and that is the sort of thing a farmer would do.  By the time I had the kids to bed and things about the house settled down (Rebecca was out of town), Doc was stiff and cold and I was tired, so I put the poor girl in a hole and said good night.  
By way of consolation Mark Straw, husband of above-mentioned Carolyn, noted, "Chickens, like sheep, are born looking for a place to die."
The limits of freedom
It should come as no surprise that following several excursions outside the coop, the girls just never did figure our that there were parts of the yard to which they were not to be given access. Chickens are not exactly that considering of creatures, and before long, they were ranging far and wide across the yard. This was unwelcome, as we had hopes of still using the yard for purposes that might not be condusive to having chicken poop all over the place. The time had come to put measures in place to keep the girls in their place.  The measure: a fence.
The Fence
Built over a weekend of almost entirely new materials, the fence is possibly not the eyesore that some quarters may have feared it would be, but it is also not as successful in restratining poultry wanderlust. It stands merely 3 feet high, and encloses the garden entirely, which on a good day restricts the girls range of motion to a generous area.  They get outside when we're home, which means weekends and evenings. Thus far we've only had one hawk come to take a look, but she didn't opt to snatch a chicken dinner.
Cassie entertains thoughts of freedom.
The fence is not, as noted, as much of a deterrent as could be hoped for.  The girls get out on occasion, and when they do, they get hustled back in without ceremony. They have only once ranged to the front of the yard, where they were fortunate no dog-walkers came by. Nonetheless, on most days, they don't see much need to venture far, and the fence serves them well.
Noah, Amina, Jon and Cassie celebrate the first egg.
Our Girls delivered their first egg on Sunday, December 9.  I believe it was Cassie's doing, and am giving her all the credit. Whoever it was managed to get it right in the nesting box, which I'm pretty excited about. Hopefully the others will learn from the fine example she set.  

One of the Rhodies contemplating the improved feed.
As a reward, the entire flock got "furloughed" for the afternoon, being allowed to wander throughout the garden.  Because of Rebecca's (reasonable) concern over chicken poop being distributed in the lawn area of the yard, the flock needed to be restricted to the area "over the ditch."  To ensure that the inmates did not wander, Amina served as warden over them, herding them about the dry dead garden beds on an unseasonably warm December afternoon.
The girls enjoy a small taste of freedom.
Sadly, Cassie took a peck at her, which was not welcome, but Amina is learning about being the top chicken in the henhouse.
Amina and Cassie, pre-pecking.  Sun is in the middle in the background.
The star of the show, once again, this time with Noah.