We went back to the allotment just before dusk last night, to see if the chicks had managed to get into their shed/coop for the night.
We weren't hopeful. Last year's hatch hadn't managed to go into their coop at all on their first day, and were very happy to see us when we turned up. It took several days before they worked it out. It was a similar story with previous hatches.
Anyway. We crept quietly up to the allotment, and were surprised to hear cheeping from the shed. At least some of them were in. We manoevered around so we could see into their netted area, and we could see that some were still out and were busy eating.
We decided we'd go in and check that everything was OK. Of course, the inside chicks piled out to say hello. DH went to get some feed to top up the feeder. I went to see what had happened to the Established birds, now that they were intermingled. I opened the nestbox of Roo's coop, expecting to see a broody Ruby. Instead I found Roo. He wasn't in the nest box, but he was sitting with his back end in the coop and his face in the nest box.
I went to the other end of the allotment, and opened the nestboxes on the left hand side. 3 Laydees were squashed into one nest box. "Daft Girls,you've obviously had enough, haven't you" I thought. Then I noticed what looked like claws in the main coop. I bent down and looked through the next nestbox along into the coop. And there was Mrs. On the roosting bars, up next to the nestbox which contained the Laydees. My eyes became accustomed to the dark, and I saw at the other end of the roosting bars, one of the Welsh Blacks! I couldn't see which.
Poor Roo. 2 of his wives and his 3 new possible fiancees have all abandoned coop!