Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Nest Boxes

At 7am this morning we installed new nesting boxes for the hens. We felt a sense of urgency to get this accomplished before the morning chicken battles.

For the last week, Red Bucket Farm has experienced a series of chicken crises. First, Rhoda's eye was damaged, very likely the result of a harsh peck from one of the dominant birds in the flock. Her cornea has a deep puncture and it's not likely that she'll regain sight in that eye.

Next, Petunia's comb was torn in a disagreement over nest boxes, as seen in the photo above. We separated her from the flock for a few days to recover and then she rejoined the flock, but late today her comb was bleeding again.

Yesterday, Squill the Speckled Sussex decided to sit in the same nest box with Daisy the Delaware, and her comb was pecked and torn in the encounter. I separated her immediately, and her comb is healing.

These incidents of aggression are making us wonder if we are failing to provide what the chickens need. Our system of nest boxes seemed inadequate, so we quickly constructed a more traditional arrangement of condo-like nest boxes with solid wood walls between each nest. Unfortunately, the reaction of the hens was the same as before--two chickens sharing one box while the other nests remain empty.

It is possible that the maturing pullets are just working out their new pecking order. Perhaps this will all settle down in a few weeks.

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