Three new chickens have joined Luba's little flock, and seven more are on the way, giving us 14 arrogant chickens clucking and scratching around the yard. A new coop is imparative - one that can house 12 hens and two chickens of questionable gender through the winter, without becoming too crowded and disgusting too quickly. We also hope to build one that will encorage the laying hens to continue laying and the non-layers to consider starting. Laying tends to slow down in the cold months, when the days are shorter, but we would like not to support 14 unproductive chickens throughout the winter.
I'm not sure Luba noticed the new arrivals the first three days we had them, she seemed to see the flock as a whole, rather than as individuals, and didn't really care how many there were, so long as she has chickens flocking around her. The exception is Raisha, the queen of the coop, who has challenged Luba a few times with puffed up feathers and a sharp beak. Luba has convinced herself that the challenges are expressions of friendship and bounds toward Raisha joyfully whenever they meet.
Late last week though, Luba discovered the new girls, and they've been practically her whole world ever since. She can't understand why the newest three won't come over to be inspected by her. She barks at them, chases them, watches them through the window, won't leave them alone for anything (except Raisha's "games"). We've had to remind her again and again that the chickens are not to be threatened, even if the threats really are just excessive love. I don't want to think of how Luba will react to the next new batch.