This week was a “normal”, yet unusual week. Our dog house guest went back home and the girls now rule the backyard.
It is clear that Valentina is the Alfa of this brood of chickens. Having said that, they still all love me (or better, my ability to give them worms) and will come to and run from me appropriately. This was a fun week.
The dog left on Friday afternoon, and Dean still had a few things to work on in the pen before we took them outside again. For one, take the black mulch and replace it with proper wood chips for them. As a result, they went to sleep inside on Friday night, but the sun rose on them in the pen on Saturday morning. They were moved in the middle of the night (and because they were sleepy, they didn’t really cause a fuss).
They didn’t really understand they were supposed to use the perch at the back of the pen to sleep and bundled up at the gate (again). Dean put them on the perch on Friday night. Yesterday the behavior repeated: the bundled up to the front instead of trying to perch (maybe the perch is a bit too high for them). I had to put them on the perch and they started getting cozy with each other and Valentina kind of made all her sister bundle up on the right of the perch.
There was also learning where the food is. We have a feeder that protects the food from intruding birds. It’s a metal contraption that the chicken steps on it and it opens up the feeder. It is calibrated to a certain minimum weight, probably based on the average chicken weight (but you can adjust its sensitivity). The chickens were not really finding their food and I was becoming worried. So as a good ‘parent’, I tried to teach them where the food was. I got some meal worms (they love it), showed it to them, pressed where the chickens have to stand to open up the feeder and put the worms in. Valentina (always) was the first to peck at the worms. I release the weight I was making on the feeder in order to show it closes. Valentina, bravely, stepped on the contraption and the feeder opened. The others followed and continued eating from the feeder even when the meal worms were gone.
Valentina and maybe Dolores got used to me being Elmira from Tiny Toons. I come, pick them up, give them a warm heart felt hug and put them down. I would even say Valentina likes them, as she always runs towards me when she sees me. I know she’s probably after worms, but I would like to think it is because she wants hugs! Consuelo is really not into it, she panics halfway through the hug and start flapping her wings and agitatedly move her talons to scratch her way out of it.
Now, no dog and proper feeding, we are leaving them to roam free in the backyard during the day, and locking them up around 5:30-6pm (to see if the will start getting the habit of trying to perch).
Having time to explore the chickens’ beauty and behavior.
I’m still debating about doing a week for storytelling or just reuse a few photos from this week to post about tiny stories (3 photos) captured with the lenses. Next week will most likely be a normal week.
To see the 52 Weeks of Chickens – 2nd Generation project, click here.