This morning I walked down to the allotment armed with two large pet carriers. Geoff had asked if I could help move his girls from Andy’s back into his large coop. I piled up the carriers next to the coop door and went to say hello to Steve and Geoff. We all talked about the weather and how it’s more like April than May. We all agreed at this rate the entire growing season will be a wash out.
Catching chickens is always interesting. Geoff had the smart idea of putting out mealworms then picking up the girls. Unfortunately, the girls worked out that was what we were planning and deftly dodged our attempts to catch them. As we chased them around the coop, they all piled into the nest box. Sensing victory, I blocked the exit from the nest box and Geoff went into the nest box, catching two very quickly. We put them into the box and tried to catch the remaining three. Back in the run, we managed to grab two more before the last wily bird dashed back into the nest box. Geoff went back into the nest box and grabbed her. With one bird tucked under his arm and a carrier in his other hand, I followed Geoff down to his coop carrying the other two hens. Once they were released, the girls spent the next half hour reacquainting themselves with the nest box and enjoying scratching on the run.
Seeing Geoff’s girls happily settled, I went around the different coops to check on our chickens. In the Omlet, Foxy seems to be mixing better with Roxy and Trixy although she still keeps some distance between herself and the others. As I refilled their food bowl, Roxy sneaked past me and began foraging. Rolling my eyes at her, I put her back into the run, promising her that she could free range later. I won’t repeat here the response she gave me as it contained a choice selection of unprintable words.
In the main coop, I collected two eggs and watched as Tommy and the girls enjoyed their sunflower seeds. Seeing that their food had got wet, I cleaned out the old food and moved the feeder into the back corner of the coop which is the driest part. As an added bonus, Tommy decided not to have a go at my shoes today. Over in the new coop, the four girls were impatiently waiting for their treats. Lilja is clearly head chicken in this coop, closely shadowed by Leia. Sadie and Snap are holding their own more but they are definitely at the bottom of the pecking order.
Back on the plot, I let Roxy out to go and forage. To my surprise, Foxy followed her immediately! Once Trixy saw the other two out, she hopped out after them. For the next half hour, they walked up and down, eating weeds and scratching at anything that looked interesting. I watched Foxy closely. She would follow the other two, almost for reassurance. I’m not sure if she has done any free ranging before but she quickly got the idea!
Persuading three busy bantams that it was time to go back into the run was rather more tricky. Trixy was easy enough to catch and I put her back into the coop. Foxy was next in after managing to corner herself between the run and the comfrey. Last but by no means least was Roxy. There was no way she was going to make it easy for me. Round and round the plot we went, Roxy always just out of reach. Leaving her for a few minutes, I let her busy herself digging a hole. As her beak was furtling in the soil, I swooped down and caught her. Letting out a very indignant squall, I carried her back to the run and put her in. Grumpily, she went over to the food bowl and began stuffing her beak with pellets. The dark clouds continued to build and I decided to get back home before the heavens opened.
The plan for tomorrow is to start hoeing over the plot and releasing the small feathery army again to continue their progress with the weeding.