Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Next step...

Over the last few days I've let the Girls free range "together" under supervision. It started off with 15 mins once a day; yesterday, it was blocks of half an hour, several times a day, and ended with me going into the kitchen and keeping an eye on them from there.

I suspect we're now at the stage where it's better to let them free range together as much as possible, rather than chopping and changing. I let them all have about half an hour in their separate areas first, and now they are all in together.

For the last couple of days they have mostly been ranging in their pairs, and then there is a kerfuffle when the two pairs' paths meet. Mostly, the Littlees have run away, so there has been little real violence, just threats of violence. Of course in the real world, that's just as bad - but not in the chicken world.

This morning, I noticed that Jasmine keeps trying to range with the Bigees. Mostly she's with Milly. But when the four of them are close, I see her edgind towards the Bigees. She tries to eat on the periphery of their "flock" (if you can call two chickens a flock). Then she inches closer, and eventually one of the Bigees will go and chase her away.

It's natural that she's looking for acceptance, but the part of me that wants them to behave like people feels that she's letting Milly down.

I'll leave them out there, kitchen door open, until I have to go out a bit later. I'll let them out together again when I get back, and if the rest of the day goes OK with them, I'll rearrange the netting so it is less complicated, and they have one simple, big, area to range in together. with netting around the perimeter.

In the meantime, I'm dashing to the door every few mins as I hear - or think I hear - a commotion.

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