It was interesting to watch the chickens last week. The biggest hen kept out of the way whilst the smallest stood up to the head newbie, while safely the other side of the wire. But yesterday, I decided to put them all together. I felt that it would be all right not to remove the head newbie, though Tim and I were on hand, just in case.
I let the old guard out first, went to feed the cats, came back and let the others out. And, rather as I expected, nothing much happened for a few minutes. They pretended not to notice each other, whilst sizing up the situation. After a few minutes, it was Mona, the elderly bantam, who asserted herself. She and the head newbie went at it, for a few minutes. Crow the cock joined in on Mona’s side and it all petered out – but then Yvette the tiny Serama went on the attack. She’d have needed a box to do much good, but she had a go. And Crow was at her side as well. And then they all went off in a huff and they’ve been a bit careful about territory since.
The big brown hen feels comfortable with the newbies, maybe because they’re much of a size. Last night, she went in the shed to sleep with them, though she’s chosen the coop with the others tonight. I’m leaving it another day, then I’ll go out after dark and put the ones in the coop into the shed.
I spent an hour clearing out the old hen house, raking up old straw and hay and generally tidying up, and also powdering against red mite, as I have in the new shed. I’m going to let the chickens go through the tunnel into the henhouse, it’ll be more space and cooler for them in the summer. The greenhouse is airy, because I’ve replaced quite a lot of the glass with netting, and have also painted the glass on the south side with Coolglass, but it does still get very warm.
It’s been fabulous weather today. I timed an hour for the cleaning out – and put on a facemask and rubber gloves, because it was dusty in there – and finished a few minutes before the timer went off. Having done the work, I felt totally justified in having beer before lunch and then relaxing on the lawn afterwards. This weekend might be all of summer, after all. i wouldn’t want to think that I’d let it go, unappreciated.
LT barbecued fish tonight, a highly expensive but very fine turbot. And the family is coming on Monday and we’re having another barbecue. I went to the deli and bought cake. Coffee, chocolate fudge, Bakewell tart and treacle tart. And ice cream. With the usual suspects for the main course.
I’m glad I didn’t put the chickens together for a few days, I think it went easier as a result. It could be that I was overcautious, but I’d rather that than blood being drawn. They’re still learning to live with each other and there’s still the occasional skirmish, but they’re all laying eggs in the same nestboxes, so they can’t be too unhappy.
Back to three dozen eggs, though. Maybe I can palm some off on the kids.