Playing with Chickens in the Garden

Occasionally, in between the rain and frantically busy days at work, I let the silkies roam the garden. It’s so lovely to see them explore and enjoy time outside the coop. They continue to get more friendly and will now eat happily from a food bowl right next to me. They never stray far from each other and if one gets a bit lost, she will call out for the others.

The hilarious part of letting the silkies out is the reaction of my two cats. I am always on guard incase one of them shows any stalking behaviours. However, at the grand age of seven, they have yet to catch anything larger than the occasional fly or moth. Thira, our timid longhair, is so terrified by these other fluffy clucking things that she almost always refuses to go outside if the silkies are exploring. Vasili on the other hand, our accident prone shorthair, has moments where is curiosity gets the better of his fear. In these rare moments, he will sniff cautiously at the silkie (often it is Cirrus) and the bird turns to look at him. The instant the bird moves towards him, he flees in terror. Yes, even from Cirrus who is half the size of a normal USA silkie. Terrified as Vasili is of the girls when free-ranging, this doesn’t stop him enjoying studying them on his favourite perch – on top of the run.

Silkies as a rule are quite delicate and are prone to cold due the their feathers. Their feathers are more akin to the primary feathers rather than the secondary feathers we associate with adult birds. Quite often, our girls have enough sense to hide in the nest box if it is raining. But when the rain is torrential, they look so bedraggled and soaked through, that I bring them inside to dry off. My husband rolls his eyes at this, but the large indoor guinea pig cage (earmarked for quail) makes a perfect little coop for them to dry off in. Needless to say, all three are distinctly unimpressed when they are returned back outside!

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