Over the past week, the Silkie chicks have been living in the coop on our lawn. The first morning, I had to lift out each chick and put her in the run because they wouldn’t go outside themselves. Once out, they huddled together and seemed far too terrified of the outdoors to move a few inches towards the food bowl. Putting them back in the evening is somewhat more difficult. Trying to give them as much space as possible, we have bought a 2m extension so their Omlet run is a generous 4m run. The downside is the run is cone shaped, narrower at the nest box end. In order to get the girls to go inside, some muggins has to commando crawl the length of the run and lift the chicks into the nest box. Spitefully, they like to nestle eight up against the nest box, a mere half inch from the open door. There just aren’t enough hands to do the job easily – one hand for the chick, one hand and a knee for balance and the second knee flailing to try and keep the other chicks from running past you. Oh and you can guarantee that when you do put a hand or knee down, it invariably lands in chicken poo.
A few days of this battle and Cirrus has worked out how to go in and out on her own. Nimbus will come out happily in the morning for breakfast but Stratus is another matter entirely. I don’t know whether she just isn’t a morning person or if there is some other reason, but she still refuses to come out. Each day she has to be pushed out the door much to her annoyance (and mine!). However, once she is out and finds the other two, she seems happy enough.
The night battle took a new and very exciting turn tonight. As it is getting lighter later, we decided to have dinner first before I spent an hour working. Busy talking about the events of the day, I completely forgot about putting the chicks into the nest box. When I saw it was pitch black after we finished eating, I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t shut in the chicks! I ran outside armed with a torch fully expecting to find three huddled feathery heaps sitting on the threshold of the nest box. Shining the torch into the coop, I saw nothing. No sign of them. Rolling my eyes, I looked further up the run, away from the nest box. Nothing. Where could they be?! Surely they couldn’t all be in the nest box? I closed the nest box door and carefully opened the hatch on the side. Inside, asleep on the perches, not in the nest space, were three feathery heaps, one white, one black and one grey. So it seems miracles can happen! I walked inside wondering why they had chosen today to work out how to go to bed.
Question is, will Stratus go outside for breakfast tomorrow morning without me shoving her out unceremoniously?