Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Relocation, Relocation

We moved the 4 Little Girls coop and netted area yesterday afternoon. This means we have a whole section of the garden that we can rest and reseed if necessary, so that it is ready for the Winter (In Winter, the Girls have the entire garden, we just fence them out of certain areas;  the rest of the year we fence them in and move the fencing every few days to give them a fresh area to explore).

Of course the Little Girls decided to be awkward.  Matilda and Roobarb ran up the ladder into the Cube.  We managed to get Florence and Custard into the netted area so they could sit safely while we moved house.  We ended up moving the Cube with Tilly sitting in the doorway of the cube.  It looked like she was in a caravan being moved. Bless.

When they got to their new area, it took them ages to explore...and a long time to realise that the fruit cage was part of their new run.   One of the blackcurrant bushes still had some late-ripening fruit on,  and the Girls were very excited to discover this.  There was something a bit disconcerting about seeing Tilly (who is a very heavy hen) jumping up and down to snatch the currants.

The Little Girls' paddock now adjoins the Big Girls' paddock on two sides.   The Big Girls aren't really very happy about this, although they haven't really been happy about it since they first spotted the new girls.

We've tried the "sprinkling treats along the joint boundary" malarkey.   This has worked before, but it wasn't very successful this time - mainly because Lily and Daisy have incredible metabolisms, and can hoover up treats so fast that no one else gets a beak in.

We'll persevere with the boundary-treating, as it probably isn't doing any harm.

Once the LittleGirls have got familiar with their new area and feel that it is "home", we'll look at removing one of the barriers to let all 8 free range together - under supervision of course.  The two Sassos (Custard and Matilda) are 15 weeks old now,  the Welsh Black (Roobarb)  and the Australorp (Florence) are 14 and a half weeks old.  I'm thinking that we'll maybe start the joint free ranging at the weekend, see how that goes, and then make plans for full integration.  As we have two houses, we might try swapping homes for a few days before integration... it's supposed to help by adding confusion.  I'm just wondering if it also adds extra stress?

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