OK, here’s the deal. I started this post a week ago. However, WordPress was being uncooperative and wouldn’t upload some of my pics. So, I gave up. Then I tried the next day, and the next. Still no luck. Then we flew down to California for my grandmother’s 80th birthday. Then my cousin flew up the same day we got back and I’ve been training her to begin a new job with my family’s company. Soooo… now this information is over a week old. I also haven’t had the opportunity to get any new pictures since a week ago. But, I figure I owe you this post… so here goes…
On Sunday (February 14th), we finally finished the nursery coop and moved it out of the garage and into the ag area near the big coop. Mama Sofia and Baby Thirteen spent their first night out successfully. The next morning, the coop was unscathed (I spent the night picturing ravaging raccoons and coyotes and weasels all vying to tear the thing open and eat the tender morsels I had stored inside). So, Monday afternoon, I let the rest of the flock out into the grass and sunshine and then I opened the back door of the nursery coop and gave Thirteen a first glance at the big, wide, scary world.
I stood guard to make sure the other chickens didn’t give them any trouble and Sofia and Thirteen pecked in the grass for a bit and then hopped back inside the coop.At this point, I noticed some tiny baby poops up on the perch and just as I was wondering if Thirteen was already able to hop up onto the perch,the question was answered for me.
And then my camera died.
Anyway, it is amazing how fast they grow! At just under two weeks old, Thirteen could flutter around and jump up at least a foot onto the perch and had almost fully-feathered wings!
The next day, we repeated the same thing and Sofia was very excited to get out in the grass with the others. So, Thirteen had to go too, like it or not.
The first real excitement of that day was when Sofia decided it would be a good idea to go “home” to the big coop. Thirteen couldn’t figure out how to follow and was very distressed to say the least.
Baby stood up very tall and peered into the run but could not figure it out. So, there was much running back and forth along the wall of the run, and calling and crying and freaking out.
Finally, I went into the run and chased Sofia back out, who was on the other side of the wall, calling to the baby, trying to get it to magically run through the wire mesh and to her on the other side. Once she was back out, all was well again.
After a while, they went back into their own coop and the rest of the flock stayed out a bit longer and visited with them through the mesh on their run.
Sofia really enjoys taking the baby out in the run and showing it how to eat grass, gravel, and bugs. She also gets very excited if we put a clump of dirt and grass into the coop for them. She goes bananas showing the baby how to peck and scratch for bugs and to eat the young tips of the green grass.
Here is a picture of the whole setup:
Yes, that is a cardboard box in the run with them. No, I can’t take it out. Don’t laugh. I may have been using it to block the doorway to the run while they were living in the garage and I hadn’t finished enclosing the run with wire. And I may or may not have accidentally sealed the box into the run by stapling and nailing the wire mesh to the entire run, top, bottom, and sides. So there it lives. I am NOT taking the wire back off to get it out. So shoot me.
That was a week ago. Since then, things have been going about the same. On Wednesday or Thursday, when the whole flock was out together, I turned my head for about 2 seconds and suddenly Sofia and Shelley were in an all-out henfight that looked for all the world at least as violent as the rooster fights. Of course I didn’t have my camera. Of course. Anyway, so I guess Shelley got too close to the baby, or maybe she pecked it or something. Whatever it was she did, Sofia was trying with all her might to KILL Shelley. They flared their umbrella necks and leapt in the air, clawing with their feet and pummeling with their wings. They pecked each other on the head and grabbed onto each others combs and pulled. They tumbled around together until they were about 20 feet from the coop. In her murderous rage, Sofia seemed to forget the baby who cried louder and louder, “peep! peep! peep! PEEP! PEEP! PEEEEEEPPPP!!! PEEEEPPPP!!!” and eventually ran back into the little coop and hopped up onto the perch and continued to cry. At some point, the fight was over and Sofia came racing and flapping back around the corner and into the coop, much to Thirteen’s delight. And again, all was well with the world.
Since then, Sofia has only administered a few wicked hard pecks to the head of anyone who dares to even look at the baby. No more henfights. I will say, though, that sometimes Sofia becomes a bit distracted by the sunshine and green grass and bugs and wanders a bit far from the baby and I have caught the roosters, mainly JB and Luke, eyeing the baby like lunchmeat. I jab with my peacemaker and they quickly change their minds.
And so it goes. We were gone Friday night and came back Sunday night and by the time I checked Monday morning, I couldn’t believe how much the baby had grown and changed in such a short time. I let them out together on Monday and everything went well. I will take pics when I can, but this week is busy.
I have to say that I am ready for the baby to be big enough to be back in the big coop ASAP. We are at the stage where they kick poop and shavings into the water over and over and over again and constantly cleaning that out is not my idea of fun.