Today a funny thing happened.
The guy who did the construction work on converting our shed into a coop and run (fortress) came back today to do a few finishing touches. He previously hadn’t finished a few little things by the original deadline of the chicks’ two-week-old birthday, when they moved into the coop. Once they were in there, he couldn’t keep doing work. So, he said he would come back when they were big enough and the weather was nice enough that they could hang out outside of the coop and run while he worked on it. Today was that day.
So, while he hammered and sawed and drilled, I let the chickies out to play in the grass. Now, usually when they come out to free-range like this, they all pour out immediately when I open the door, but then over time, they start to go back in and out of the coop and run and the outside world. This is their routine. The trouble was, today there was a huge, tattooed biker-guy on a ladder with noisy machines inside their run, near the chicken doors. And, while they could have gone in and out like normal (their entryways were not actually blocked at all), that noisy monster in the run was WAY too scary to risk it. So, they stayed out. And stayed out. And stayed out. And, eventually, a group of them did something I’d never seen them do before – they laid down and went to sleep outside of the coop and run, in the long grass under the blackberries. At first I thought that they just wanted to nap and since the coop seemed off-limits, they chose the next-most-secure place they could find.
But then the work was finished and the guy packed up and got out of the run. As was to be expected, many of the chickens immediately headed back into the coop once the “monster” was gone – eight chickens, to be exact. The other seven remained over in the blackberries. At this point, some were napping and some were grooming and some were grazing… but none were moving. So, I walked over to them to shoo them back into the coop. Nothing. They weren’t going anywhere. In fact, they were so smitten with their new home that they even let me pet them, which none of this group ever does. Interesting. Waving my arms and telling them to move and walking toward them wasn’t working. Poking and prodding wasn’t working. It truly seemed as though they had accepted the fate of their poor coop and had mentally moved on. The coop was no longer an option. This was their home now.
The way I eventually solved this quandry was to actually pick up a couple of them, one at a time, and walk them back to the run. You have to understand that this is a big deal. I know that many people have chickens that love to be picked up and held. I do not. I don’t know why, but I don’t. These guys love people and have been aroudn them since they were born but they do NOT want to be picked up or even petted, for the most part. Lady B, of course, is the exception, as you all well know. But, Lady B was not in this group. And they were so stuck there that they didn’t run from my touch and they even let me pick them up. Wonders never cease.
Anyway, as I was walking the second one back to the run, the construction guy managed to convince the other five to follow me and so they were finally back in their old home. Chickens are funny. What can I say? And actually, I was actually kinda happy it worked out that way because it gave me the chance to hold and bond with a couple of them, and in theory, that should make it easier for the future. The first one was a Marans girl who already let me pet her sometimes anyway. I held her for quite a while and stroked her and talked to her to calm her down. She seemed to take to it pretty well, so there is hope for the future. The second one was an Orpington and she fought me the whole time – attempting to flap and get away and screeching for good measure. I cannot tell you how many times that I’ve read that Orpingtons are the cuddliest, snuggliest, love-to-be-held-iest chickens of them all. It is just not true with mine. Lady B is an Easter Egger/Ameruacana and she is very snuggly. Pol Pot is the same breed and allows a little petting and is really starting to warm up to people. Both of my Marans girls don’t mind a bit of petting. Scruffy, the Marans rooster likes a little now and again. But the Oprington girls – forget about it. You might as well be poking them with a red-hot branding iron. They have been this way since they day they arrived here. I have no clue why.
I Win the Flower-Choosing Contest.
Isn’t it pwetty? It’s my Nancy Evans Rhododendron, and it’s just started to bloom. I think it’s B-E-A-YOU-TI-FUL. I picked it by description only and I really didn’t know what it was going to look like, but I picked a winner in my book. It’s just a tiny baby now, but I think it will be truly glorious when it is full-sized in a few years. Yay me!