Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Inside outside house
We have gotten to a critical phase with the chickens.
The big chickens are nearly full-size and are clucking like real chickens, instead of making baby sounds, which actually made me sad when I realized it because I am going to miss Muffin's funny kazoo sound.
The babies are about six weeks old, and getting bigger all the time, but still definitely mini-sized. One month from now Marc and I are going on vacation for a week-- leaving our "kids" to the care of an elderly neighbor. We want very much for the chickens to all learn to get along and make friends by the time we leave so our neighbor doesn't have to do double the work. When all the chickens are out in the yard ranging free, for the most part the little kids stay far away from the big kids. This is because the big kids chase them and peck at them. Actually, mainly Liz Lemon and Skittles are the aggressors, although Miss Kitty is a little cranky in general. Roxie does not help the situation because she cries and freaks out whenever any of them gets near her, even if they aren't doing anything to her, and then she gets pecked because she's annoying.
As transitional housing, Marc built a cage within the coop for the little kids to play in where they can be near the big kids without getting picked on. This works relatively well, except that it requires us to manually move them at night. The inside of the chicken house also has a fenced off portion so they can sleep near the other chickens, without getting pecked. So every night we scoop up the little kids and put them in their safe corner, and every morning I go out to the coop in my PJs and garden boots and move them into their cage within the cage, which is not easy since the big chickens try to get out when I come in, and the little kids don't really want to be put in the box. Roxie is such a good girl-- all I have to do is put my hand out in front of her feet and she will step up on to my hand and perch there, ready to go with me. Flea knows how to do this, but rarely wants to be picked up and usually I have to chase her.
Last night we had unexpected progress. After the big kids had put themselves to bed (as they do at exactly 8pm every night) we had left the little kids inside the coop but not in their smaller cage. Marc went to go put them to bed and they weren't there. We peered in the windows and the little kids were roosting on the same beam as the big kids! The big kids were all scrunched in tight together so Miss Kitty, who was on the end, wouldn't have to actually touch the little kids, but this was certainly progress. We almost left them there overnight, but watching through the window, Roxie kept getting up and shifting and annoying Miss Kitty who would then peck at her. Roxie then hid her head underneath Flea to hide from Kitty which was so funny we could hardly contain ourselves. We finally decided that no one was going to get any sleep like this and moved the little kids to behind their safe fence, but I am optimistic that in a couple more weeks of this arrangement they might learn to tolerate each other.