Now we begin the task of restoring order to the chicken flock.
Task Number One: Getting the seven new hens back into the habit of going into the chick cottage at night. Due to the cockfighting and general nastiness of the roosters, when we would go to shut them up at night we would find one rooster (obviously the winner in that day's duels for dominance) with a couple of hens inside the coop, and the rest of the roosters and hens roosting on the stone wall outside the coop.
Prime pickings for an owl, right there.
I was hoping that all the hens would just hang together once the roosters were gone and go into the coop by themselves. That would be the intelligent thing to do. Too bad chickens are so far from intelligent.
When I went out last night to shut the chickens away, I found two hens inside the coop, two hens on the wall, and two hens on the roof of the chick cottage. Right. And there's your example of the idiocy of the chicken.
After some chasing with the aid of a stick, I got the two on the wall into the coop and one of the hens from the roof in. The other hen on the roof got off the roof, but then ran around and around and around the cottage, with me climbing the walls on either side to chase her around the coop in my attempts to get her inside. We literally went in a circle at least three times before she finally deigned to run into the coop.
Fool chicken. She's next for the freezer if she doesn't shape up.
I thought all the hens were inside the coop then, because at last count, we had six new hens. We thought one had been eaten by an owl or something at some point, because although we should have had seven hens and six roosters, we seemed to end up with six hens and five roosters. Attrition is sort of inevitable when they're free-ranging, so we figured that wasn't so bad.
But this morning when I went out to let the older hen and the old rooster out of their coop (yes, they are still in a separate coop--combining the chickens is Task Number Two), I found one hen hanging around outside the chick cottage. Huh. Well, more eggs for us! Assuming they start laying eggs at some point, which has not yet happened.
The hens will be staying shut up in their coop today, so they can meditate on their stupidity and perhaps learn that the coop is the place to be. Also so I can see if any of them are laying eggs already. It's kind of hard to figure out when they run over an area the size of most people's houses. Eggs could be anywhere, and I'm not about to go on an Easter egg hunt every day to find them. So they will stay in their coop today and we'll see what we'll see.
Happy Friday, poppets! Have a good, rooster-free weekend! I know I will.