|Milli Taking her First Call|
Now that my June work travels are over I’m ready to fully integrate the girls together in the coop. They had more than 2 weeks in the run sleeping by themselves and having their own food and water. The outside the coop time has worked well and both groups keep a respectful distance from each other. Millie has emerged as the natural leader of the younger set, Lottie follows along, jumps when she can, and Nellie is the last for everything, always seeming a bit confused as to the plan. She has trouble finding the open door to the coop and circles around the entire run even when I open doors at both ends. It’s a mystery to her!
The barrier separating the run rooms has been removed and so far no one has drawn real blood. There’s a definite pecking order in place and little Hazel has emerged as the hen that bothers the new girls the most. I suppose that is pay back for all the years she’s been pecked at by Flora and Gertrude. Everyone does go after the new girls but so far it’s manageable though it always breaks my heart a bit to see them fight. No point in explaining the Golden Rule to these girls!
The first day after the girls were allowed to put themselves to bed I looked out the kitchen window and saw a chicken pacing outside the run. My first thought was that someone else in the neighborhood had chickens but I realized that couldn’t be true. But was it mine??? Was it ever! I ran out to find Lottie nervously running around waiting to get back in. I realized that I had never counted to see if all the hens were in the coop and thought this was a fluke. So she’d spent the night somewhere in the wilds of my yard and survived.
That night I thought I’d do the count so about 8:30 pm at dusk I went out – no Lottie. I spent the next 45 minutes combing the yard, the bushes, even the driveway but could not find her. We live in a downtown neighborhood with only raccoons and skunks but they are still predators so I was very fearful of Lottie’s fate. I was about to give up when I thought to glance up and I found her perched on the nearby birdhouse! I got her down with a long stick and carried her into the coop.
carry into coop. Night 4 she only jumped on the roof of the coop and this went on for several more nights. Finally, finally the tug of war ended on its own and Lottie marched into the coop with the rest of the group.
The blue coop is still adequate but the planning for a new home has to begin. Somehow, it has to attach to the main coop eventually as they’ll be a lot happier in the winter if they can hunker down together. I think about the design a lot…