Sunday, 31 August 2008

Two steps forward, one step back

Delilah kept chasing the Littlees. Mostly when their paths crossed, but in the Run they were crossing quite often.

So, I decided a bit more drastic action was needed: we would divide the Run. To shake things up, I decided that the Littlees should have the end nearest the house. We moved the Eglu, moved some furniture around, swapped the dust baths, and then we built a fence between the two halves. Instead of my makeshift fence, we used garden fencing, like chain link but softer, which we connected to the sides with clips. We built it so it reached almost to the top.

The first evening, Jasmine decided to roost on the top of the fencing!

During the day, they are all free ranging together, and any hen can get into any part of the Run and both the Eglu and the Cube. At night, they are shut in their separate halves, where they can still see each other, but can't get to each other.

This arrangement seems to work well, and I'll carry on with this for a while, before I try letting them mix again. I'm not in a particular hurry to complete the integration, the only milestone really is that I want the Littlees to be integrated and in the Cube by the time they start laying.

I noticed while giving them some corn (while they were all together), that the Littlees are fairly happy feeding near Scarlett's head, and she only occasionally goes for them. This gave me an idea for a backup plan, if Delilah doesn't settle down: I'll move Scarlett in with the Littlees and leave Delilah on her own for a bit. This might sound unfair, but if it means that it shakes things up and stops Delilah then it might be worth doing.

Let's see what happens over the next few days.



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