Yesterday, I walked into the New Coop and couldn’t find Winnie. I looked everywhere. Worried that meant nothing but bad news, I lifted the top of the next box up, expecting to find a body. To my surprise, the next box was empty. No bird to be seen. Or was there? Crushed between the nest box outer wall and the side of the laying box was a tiny feathery bundle. Fearing the worst, I reached in. The feathery bundle wriggled to get away from me and dashed out of the nest box. Relieved, I put the top down and went back into the run to check on Winnie.

I picked her up and was shocked at how light she was. She has definitely lost some weight and this probably means she hasn’t been able to get to the food bowl. Chickens can be very nasty to each other. On impulse, I decided to take her home. I could put her in the little hospital coop for a few days to recover and get unimpeded access to food and water. I carried her with me as I pottered between the different coops, sorting out fresh water and food. When I walked back up to the New Coop, I put Winnie down outside the run while I hung up the food bowl. Turning around to leave, I spotted Coco and Winnie trying to get at each other through the wire. Poor Winnie seems quite attached to Coco and it seemed heartless to put her in the little coop without some company. I swept up Coco, who thankfully had a full crop, and closed up the run. Juggling two bantams is considerably easier than holding two large fowl. However, it’s difficult when they are wriggly!

I put them both on the veranda table with a handful of corn and seeds before checking on the Ancient Ones. Maude and Mavis seemed quite happy in their temporary coop currently. My plan is to move them back home once the chicks are in their new homes. As they are both at least eight years old, I can keep a closer eye on them at home and they adore sunbathing on the lawn. One final check of the coops and I collected Coco and Winnie. Unlocking the gate was a challenge as I daren’t loosen my hold on the girls in case they flew into the road. Eventually, I managed it and headed back home with my arms full of chickens.

At home, I set up the little coop and put Coco and Winnie inside. Poor Winnie immediately went to the food bowl and began wolfing down the food. Coco joined in but not quite as enthusiastically which confirmed my suspicion that Coco had been managing better in the coop than Winnie. I left them to settle for a while. After dinner, I discovered Winnie and Coco curled up happily together, making gentle clucks at each other. Greatly reassured, I headed back inside.


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