Saturday, November 12, 2005

Sunshine in O.K. Corral, Clipping, and Scratching

We had another bright but really cold day and a great time to be out and about making the most of it, and the girls agreed too. I appear to have made a good choice in my positioning of the Eglu and enclosure, as the winter sun shines on their area most of the day and it is not in any shadow. In the summer the sun is higher and in the afternoon they will be in the shade.

What a difference a few days make to how the girls have settled in. No more arguing or chasing around, just peace and harmony. You wouldn’t know they were there as they did not make a sound.

They just love the warm potatoes mixed in with their mash and after the initial breakfast they go back to it all day and almost always clear the dish.

I decided to clip one wing on each bird, and Pat came with me to hold the scissors, albeit reluctantly. He had visions of mass panic I think. But I just picked each one up and talked softly to them and stroked them, gently extended a wing, got Pat to just gently hold it open whilst I quickly trimmed it. All done in a couple of minutes if that for each bird and that includes the meal worms for being a brave girl! And I let the chickens have some too!!

This afternoon I took a break to just sit and watch them. I had cleaned out the Eglu again, I think that it is easier for me to do it every other day as it is so easy, and not a chore at all as it takes just a few minutes. If I left it a week it might be a bit messy and take longer. I did that and raked their run whilst they were in the enclosure, and pulled out a couple of stalks of sorrel which they had overlooked. I took out the casserole dish with the last dregs of breakfast and they all came running and making as little noise as if to say –‘Leave that we haven’t finished’. So I set it down beside the gate and sat and watched. All three of them fed together in a semicircle, something that I would never have envisaged two days ago. Ginger got rather a messy beak with potato all over it and around her ‘mouth’ area, and KoKKo very gently pecked it clean, several times. So very very gently and Ginger just stood there and let her do it. I never knew that chickens groom each other.

I sat for a while watching them and every time they heard a noise in the distance like a car door or people talking they would all stand up in unison, cock their heads and listen for a while, then they would quietly ‘mutter’ and all three heads would go down again. This happened so many times. It has been like O.K. Corral here these past couple of days as it is pheasant shooting season and there have been shoots in the fields behind us. The girls haven’t batted an eyelid at that though.

You remember I gave the girls a lesson in scratching yesterday – well it would appear that I did rather a good job. Whilst tidying up their run, I thought that I might as well rake all the wood bark off the lawn it was covering, and pile them up against the perimeter fence, and they could then wreck the lawn and I would have the bark clean to cover it up afterwards. It took me about 10 minutes to do the whole area.

When I turned around to admire my work, KoKKo had taken significantly less time to scratch the whole pile way from the fence. I stood and watched for a while and she did a little dance forward right up to the wire fencing, and a back shuffle kick that Johnny Wilkinson would be proud of if it were in reverse. The height that the wood bark flew was amazing to see. In a short space of time she spread the whole lot back over the area where I had raked.

She then went around to the gate and started digging a deep hole at the root of a rose bush that I pruned right down in case they hurt themselves on it, and then the hole became a trench right in front of the gate. The other two took her lead and before long they had tackled three lengths and the bark is now neatly spread back where it was.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I was called inside to take a phone call, I daresay that I would still be outside watching them – and frozen into a block!

I have just been out to lock them in their Eglu run and two were still out playing. It was too dark to see who the culprits were - probably Adelaide and KoKKo going on previous experience.

I think the reason for this behaviour was that yesterday I shut them in their run earlier, but as they were having so much fun I left them in the outer enclosure today and assumed that they would naturally roost. Not so, they were at this end where we have a security light that comes on at dusk and stays on all night.

I went in and said to them, ‘What are you still doing up and out?’ and they started ‘talking’ to me in reply – honestly. I just gently picked them up one at a time and they went to bed muttering under their breath at me.

Nice to end the day with a big smile.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to hear you've had success with wing-clipping as that's one of the few things that worries me - I'm an old softie :-)


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