Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Reintegration continues

I accompanied DH to the Allotment today.  I wanted to check on Siouxsie and Camilla, to make sure they hadn't suffered any reintegration injuries.

We were greeted by all 12 Girls, all waiting to get out to munch grass.  When we opened the gate,  Camilla and Siouxsie stayed behind - which is what they did before they came home for a week.

I shut the gate so the others couldn't get back in,  and I gave Siouxsie and Camilla some mealworms.  Then I opened up the gate into Bertie's bit,  and Bertie and Ping and Pong all came out for an explore.  Then I opened the gate to the outside,  and everyone charged in.

Bertie got extremely excited, and did a lot of wing fanning.  The Allotmenteers all ignored him,  and they ignored Ping & Pong too.    I opened a tin of tuna and crumbled it up so everyone got some,  and Bertie picked his up and dropped it on the floor, making encouraging noises.

I did the waterers, and then gave everyone some sweetcorn.   Camilla and Siouxsie were not in the general melee,  so I shut the gate behind me, and went to find them to give them their tuna and sweetcorn separately.  They both look OK, no obvious wounds or marks.

I opened the gate again and distributed corn, starting by giving some to Bertie.  He immediately started calling the Girls,  and some came to eat the corn.

When we'd finished out chores,  we herded Bertie and Ping & Pong back to the safety of their own  pen.  We had to do them one at a time,  but it was relatively straightforward.  Each was rewarded with mealworms for going back in.

We're going to open the gate permanently before long.  Ideally I'd like Ping&Pong to be laying first (being in-lay gives hens a bit more confidence at standing up to each other), but I guess it'll depend on how long that takes to happen.  In the meantime, we'll carry on letting them mix while we're there before doing anything more serious.

I miss having Siouxsie and Camilla in the garden, and I think of them everytime I walk past the coop.   We're not dismantling it until Ping & Pong are integrated,  just in case we need it.


On Monday morning we took Siouxsie and Camilla back to the Allotment.

We arrived,  shut the entire flock in a different part of the allotment with some treats, and let Siouxsie and Camilla out of the cat carrier and gave them time to wander round and reacquaint themselves with the old homestead.

We let Bertie and Ping & Pong out as well.  Pong didn't venture out.  Ping did.  Bertie couldn't decide what to do.  

After a bit of farting about, we opened the 'gate'.   Bertie and Ping went unnoticed.

Two girls immediately spotted Cami and Siouxsie and went on the attack    It was most unpleasant.  Camilla and Siouxsie fought back,  and I intervened to separate them.    It was interesting to see who was threatened by their return,   I assume the two 'offenders' must have been at the bottom of the remaining ecking order and wanted to make sure they didn't slip down any further.   It was one of the harem girls - I don't know which one,  we've long stopped having leg rings -  and one of the Yllis twins (Phyllis or Dyllis, can't tell them apart ).

When we'd finished with the mucking out, watering, filling feeders, we herded Bertie and Ping back to their area.    I  gave the main flock some corn over on the other side of the allotment,  and gave C & S some tuna.

And then we left them to it.

When I got home, I immediately pulled out all the temporary fencing,   cleaned out the coop,  and  cleaned and put away the feeder, drinker, coop cups and other bits and pieces.     I decided not to dismantle the coop just yet.

I wish I could have kept Cami and Siouxsie here in the garden.   However,  the little bit of garden they had is not suitable for long term living,   and keeping them would have meant integrating them with the existing 5 Garden Girls.   That would have been incredibl stressful, probably more stressful than having to go back to the Allotment.

It was very hard though.