It has been almost a month since I have written. Things have been very busy here, mostly with chicken projects.
First, shortly after my last post, I was sitting in the sunroom very early in the morning and Beatrix and Prudence were in the big run. I heard some startled clucking and a warning call. I looked out and saw what I thought was a big cat, circling the run and watching the girls. This has happened before and they DO NOT like it. So I went out to shoo the cat away. But when I got closer I realized that that was no cat. It was a grey fox! And he was very interested in my girls.
I knew the big run was safe, but the connecting run was not. It would keep out hawks…but a fox could get in. This was not good. We put it up so the girls could use the run but we knew that at some point we would have to build something safer. It appeared that that time was now. I do not want my girls to be on some foxes family menu.
After much discussion and a few designs, we decided to make a connecting tunnel out of wood and hardware cloth….same as the run. It was complicated by the fact that the land sloped and there would have to be a curve in the connecting run. And I was still hoping to have some sort of bridge over it so we could get to the woodland garden beyond it without going around the big run.
First we built the frame (well, Bill did most of it).
I dug a trench to bury the hardware cloth so no foxes could dig under.
We added hardware cloth to the sides and top.
And one of the sections got a wood top and steps. A bridge!
My girls would be very safe in this tunnel!
It took a bit of getting used to, but Beatrix and Prudence were happy to be able to get to their big run again.
Here it is from the other side.
Once that was finished, it became clear that the chicks were quickly wearing out their welcome in the house. They refused to stay in the brooder box and there was poop and shavings all over the room they were in. Time to move them up to the potting side of Cluckingham Palace. Beatrix didn’t like it, but she would get used to the idea.
The chicks LOVED their new digs.
It wasn’t long before they realized they could fly up to the shelf and explore up there.Mostly it was Lucinda (still Lucy in the Sky) and Rowena. They like high places and were the first to roost on the side of the brooder box as well.
You may notice that I have now removed the quilts from the shelf. Chicks poop everywhere!
Marigold likes to perch on the water jug.
As does Hermione.
Jasmine and Blossom are content with the roost.
And Keara is happy to join them.
They are growing very fast and even this space is getting small for them. They want to stretch their wings and FLY!!!
So this week I have started letting them use the big run. At first I fenced off a section for them to use.
I wanted Beatrix and Prudence to get used to sharing with them.
Prudence was interested. Beatrix was incensed! WHAT WERE THEY DOING IN HER RUN?! She was ready to attack them.
It took no time at all for the chicks to realize they could fly over the fence and enjoy the whole run. Luckily, Beatrix had left in a huff before they learned that.
So now, unless I am there to supervise, they take turns in the big run. Beatrix and Prudence have the little run and the tunnel…but I block the entrance to the big run when the chicks are there. Poor Beatrix.
She hates them a little less every time they are together, but she is not happy.
Today I had them all in the big run and took some pictures.
Beatrix and Prudence had a drink and ignored the chicks at first.
The chicks showed some respect and kept their distance.
But then Prudence joined them. If they got too close, she pecked at them, but she was basically fine.
Beatrix went to the far end of the run..away from the chicks. She lunged and chased them if they came near her. It is going to take some time I think.
Marigold, meanwhile, enjoyed a dust bath…
…and chatted with Rowena.
Jasmine and Blossom played on the stump and Hermione watched.
Lucinda is fascinated with Prudence. Keara is having a rest.
It was good start. Hopefully Beatrix will come around and everyone can be together in Cluckingham Palace soon.
And the adventures will continue.
Meanwhile, look who is learning to swim….