The Feathery Army Marches Out

I love lunchtimes at the moment. It’s an opportunity to let the chickens at home explore the garden. I find watching the interactions between the different groups fascinating.

The silkies are the first out, always keen to destroy another patch of the lawn. Cirrus is always first out and she usually wanders near to the flock but always making sure she is out of Asperitas’s reach! Stratus and Nimbus, now as thick as thieves after weeks sitting on top of each other in the nest box, bimble around the lawn, methodically moving across the lawn. Asperitas wanders next to them, only leaving them occasionally to peck at Cirrus. Watching their fluffy heads bob about reminded me of the dreadful trend for topknot ponytails in my school. Once such a thought had occurred to me, I couldn’t call our little flock of silkies anything other than The Topknot Gang.

The chicks, now nine weeks old, are keen to be outside the run. Once out however, their bravado fails them and the huddle next to the run, ready at any moment to dash back inside. Trying to chivvy them onto the lawn is an incredibly difficult task. However, this pales into insignificance when compared to corralling them back into the run! For four small hens, it’s incredible how fast they can run! Each time I manage to corner one, the others sprint away. Whereas it would take a couple of minutes to get the older silkies back inside, the chicks take at least ten minutes of frantic chasing. Hilariously, they are now the size of Cirrus, which shows just how tiny she is!

At the other end of the scale is Trixie. Her leg is getting better with cage rest and I’m hoping just a couple more days and she will be able to go back to the allotment. Her approach to free ranging in the garden is quite different. She shuffles around to find the perfect spot, then throws herself down and begins to sunbathe. Trixie awards herself bonus points if she manages to flop down somewhere where it is possible to simultaneously eat and sunbathe. As a black chicken in the heat, I have put her into the shade after several minutes for fear she would overheat. Needless to say this intervention was not taken well!

When lunchtime ends, it’s time for all the chickens to go back into their runs. Everyone is well behaved until I get to the chicks. As I sprint around the garden chasing four feathery balls of white fluff, I can almost hear the Yakety Sax tune playing..


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