Being Given the Run Around

The last two days, I have been woken up by Gordon doing his best impression of a cockerel. Despite having very accommodating neighbours, I just couldn’t keep him in the garden anymore. The fact he set off three times yesterday shows he is getting more confident in his voice. So my plan was to move him to the allotment where although he will still crow, it won’t be anywhere near as loud as at home where it echoes around the houses.

First job though was to go down to the allotment and collect the two large pet carriers from the greenhouse. When I arrived, Cliffs black leghorn was making her weird crowing noises again. Mixing up a fresh batch of apples sauce and oregano, I caught her and dropped a piece at a time when her beak was open. For good measure, I also drip fed her several syringes of diluted cider vinegar in the hopes that it would help. Her crowing did temporarily stop but it came back half an hour later. Pondering how best to help her, I wondered whether I had any Flubenvet powder left somewhere.

As I was thinking, I walked down to the Nest House with a carrier. My plan was to catch Maude and Mavis. These beautiful elderly girls deserve a quiet peaceful retirement. I was in luck because Maude was perching inside when I opened the door. Quickly, I got her into the carrier and then went inside the run to catch Mavis. Now the added complication to my simple plan was Tommy. No cockerel likes it when you mess with “his” girls. Even Tommy, who is a pretty pathetic excuse for a cockerel takes exception if you upset his girls by trying to catch them. I couldn’t get anywhere close to catching Mavis so I boxed her into the Nest House. Even then I had to corner her, banging my head in the process. Once Mavis was in the carrier with Maude, I shut the run and paused to get my breath.

I ambled across to the new coop and sized up my opposition. Leia would be easy to catch, Sadie probably a little more difficult and how I was supposed to catch Lilja (who is more leg than hen) I had no idea. I decided to catch Sadie first. She was not willing to play ball and I chased her round the coop in a nearly fruitless effort to catch her. Eventually, I cornered her and grabbed her. Surprisingly, she was quite calm as I carried her into the main coop and put her high up on a perch. Back to the new coop and Leia tried to evade my attempts to catch her. Unfortunately for Leia, she is a slow chicken and therefore easy to catch. I put her into the main coop and she immediately hid underneath the black pallet.

Now for the tricky one. Lilja had seen the other two being picked up and knew what was coming. The only thing missing from our stand off was some tense cinematic music or a stray tumbleweed rolling past. Eyeballing each other, we made our plans. To someone walking past the site, it must have sounded quite spectacular – the squawks, flapping, my yells as she battered me in the face with her wings… Several minutes later, I emerged from the coop triumphant, a very angry and disgruntled Lilja under my arm. I out Lilja on the high perch with Sadie and went in search of Leia. That idiotic bird had wedged herself under the pallet and refused to come out. Using a long stick, I prodded her out, snatched her out of Polly’s beak range and dropped her onto the top perch with Sadie and Lilja. All three was distinctly unimpressed with the morning events. Pausing only to grab the carrier with Maude and Mavis in I dashed up to the greenhouse, snatched up the second carrier and headed home.

In the garden, I put both carriers down and thought about how to entice Gordon and his gang out of the run. Subtlety tends not to work so I closed the nest box and rattled the run. This brought the chickens forward towards the run door. From there, I managed to grab one of the girls and shut her in. Gordon, hearing the angry clucks of one of his girls came running up to see what was happening. He played right into my hands and I deposited him into the carrier. The next three were relatively easy although it was rather squashed for them all in one carrier. I comforted myself with the fact they would only be spending a few minutes in there.

Next I opened Maude and Mavis’s carrier and gently tipped them out I to their new retirement home. They didn’t look that impressed but I promised them a clean nest box tomorrow! With the girls settling in, I lugged the other carrier with Gordon in back to the allotment.

I stopped to show the chickens to Geoff and Cliff who were sitting outside their sheds putting the world to rights. None of the bantams were interested in coming out of the carrier when I opened it. In the end, I had to resort to tipping them out one at a time. As soon as Gordon got out he checked his girls were all there and proceeded to let out his best and loudest cockle doodle doo. It sounded so quiet compared to at home! It will take them all some time to get used to their huge new enclosure but it will give them the space they need now they are nearly fully grown.

Glancing at my phone, I realised I should have been home half an hour before! I sprinted around the coops, checking everyone had food and water – and in the new coop that the chickens could reach the food and water. They are so tiny that the brick the water was on was too high for them to get a drink! I used a spare piece of rope and hung the water from the run roof. It’s a temporary measure and I will get some hooks tomorrow. Back at the greenhouse, I spotted a gorgeous young cat batting at the greenhouse glass in a vain attempt to get a Cliff’s chicken inside. He snuck into the greenhouse as I tried to put away one of the carrier’s. Luckily Phil was on standby and grabbed it before it could make its aquantance with the hen. From that meeting, I guarantee that the cat would have come off worse! He seemed like he had good hunting instincts so I might try and persuade him to hunt in my shed to try and get rid of the mice another day…

With everyone safe and settling into their new homes, I ran home, arriving a mere 45 minutes later for lunch. Seeing as everyone else had moved, I quickly moved the coop onto a new bit of lawn so the silkies could have some new grass to scratch at. They seemed quite happy, clucking contentedly in the run. Silkies are by far and away the most docile and contented hens I have ever had!

Later, we walked down to check everyone was settling in alright. I was especially concerned about Leia who has a history of struggling to cope with more than two other girls. I found her trio in the Nest House with Leia cowering in the nest box. I have no idea why she was cowering as there was no other hen anywhere near her! In the new coop, everyone was huddled together in the corner. I picked up Gordon and put him in the nest box. As long as one of them knows where it is, hopefully they will go inside tonight!

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