Update on the Girls
The girls, aka. birds of very little brain, are our four heritage breed laying hens adopted two weeks ago. They have become quite the center of the homestead since arriving.
The two buff orange Orpingtons are most friendly and accept being picked up and petted. The spotted Sussex least likes human attention. The black Australorp is clearly the dumbest, which is really saying something because no chicken is an IQ prize winner. She doesn't find food, roosts last, and is generally unaware. Good thing we're around!
The coop has required two modifications. First, we (meaning Alex) built a feeder that mounts on the side of the run from PVC. The girls were knocking over their feeder four or more times a day which wasted food and frustrated us. The new feeder was quick and cheap to build and hasn't been spilled yet.
Alex is also adding a rain proof roof. During last week's rain we covered the run with a blue sheet of plastic that was less than classy. We searched all over the city for clear fiberglass corrugated sheeting to no avail yesterday. I finally found out that Sutherlands carries it and Alex picked some up on his way home from work today. He'll install the roofing tomorrow.
Our backyard chickens have been visited by family, friends, and local bloggers. Lil loves to tell kids about taking care of chickens and reminds everyone they have to wash their hands after petting birds. Our chickens have inspired at least one family to make plans to raise their own hens.
Some have asked questions about the legality of raising chickens in the city. In Columbus, the Health department regulates keeping livestock through a permitting process per this document issued by the city veterinarian.
Even with a wonderful coop and lots of attention, our chickens have not yet started laying. We added a bit of cayenne pepper to their feed to stimulate production at the suggestion of Denise from 2Silos farm. They are young (23 weeks) and daylight is still minimal so it might take a little more time before we collect that first precious egg.
I am not sure how much you all want to know about backyard chickens, so please leave a comment with questions or encouragement if you want to read more about city chickens. Better yet, take our blog survey and help shape the future of Hounds in the Kitchen.