Friday, September 28, 2012

Thelma & Louise

Last Sunday, Matt and I made the 30 minute trip across the Columbia to Washougal, Washington, where we obtained the newest members of our backyard brigade.

Introducing Thelma:

...and Louise: 

These girls are year-old Ameracaunas, just slightly younger than the rest of our flock. This is our second attempt at some green eggs, although it might be a little while; Thelma is finishing moulting, and the trauma of being introduced to a new flock might put them off the lay for awhile anyway.

Matt had brought up the idea a few weeks ago of adding two more ladies to our flock, since our permit from the county allows us seven hens, and we have a growing market for eggs, with several of my coworkers wanting to buy them from us. So we scouted around and found a place in Washougal that was selling hens for $14 apiece. 

Picking them up was a bit of an adventure, mainly due to a bad move on my part. We bought the hens from an older man with a big property on the edge of town, and we took along a box to put them both in for the trip home. The man had caught the then-nameless Thelma with a long handled net and got her into the box, and I held the lid on while he went after Louise (Matt was moving the car at the time, so someone else could get out the driveway). Louise was netted and handed to me when the man's phone rang. So I had Louise under my arm and was holding the box shut with my other hand, and without thinking of the possible negative consequences, I tried to slip Louise into the box by myself. In hindsight, more than two hands were needed to keep one freaked-out chicken in the box while inserting the second. Thelma saw her opportunity, and made a break for it. As the man came back from his phone call, he found me looking incredibly sheepish, now with Louise safely in the box, and Thelma on the lam and out of the fenced chicken yard. He ran after her as she escaped the property completely and went into a massive and dense camellia hedge beside the road. It took another fifteen minutes of Matt crawling around inside the hedge trying to spot a perfectly camouflaged chicken, and flushing her out, while the man waited grumpily at the end of the hedge with his net, and finally sprinted madly after her when she did make her exit. I spent the whole time feeling like an idiot and simply holding the chicken box shut, since the bungee cord we had brought to keep it closed was in Matt's pocket, deep inside the hedge. As we left, I tried to apologize several times, and dearly wanted to explain to the man that I was a keeper of chickens and knew their ways and just hadn't thought, but I'm sure he believed I was just some greenhorn from the city who had no idea what she was doing. On the drive home, Matt suggested that any pair of chickens resulting in such a runaway should be dubbed Thelma and Louise. Since in the movie Thelma was generally more of a hell-raiser, that name went to the beautifully mottled brown lady that led Matt on a wild-hen chase in what was virtually a jungle.

Nearly a week later, they are somewhat integrated into the flock. Louise more so than Thelma. There has been some brawling in the chicken run, but it is decreasing every day. So far Louise is jumping in to fight over the kitchen scraps with the other hens, but Thelma is rather reluctant for fear she will get chased or pecked. Ironic since at first she raised Cain and went toe-to-toe with the other hens. She must have come off worse in the end to be at the bottom of the heap now. I managed to get photos of her showdown with Goldie:

Strangely, Mimi, who was once the new kid on the block, has become the boss of the flock and is most likely to dole out punishment on the new girls. She is also the biggest of the hens so is probably the most intimidating if you're at hen-eye-level.

Well, they're here, and they're figuring out the routine of where to roost and to come running if they hear me or Matt come outside. We clipped their wings and tails when they first arrived, to be on the safe side, but I don't think they're wanting to escape as much anymore. Another week and hopefully there will be peace in chickenland and they'll all be getting along well all the time, rather than only at select moments. Here's to green eggs soon!

Our flock of seven!

1 comment:

FlowerLady said...

What a story! Your flock looks great and I do hope you get some green eggs.

Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady