Friday, 3 June 2011

Training Tilda

I'm missing Lily. A lot.

Fortunately, I have Tilda, who is our Special Needs chicken.  She's a RooxMrs chick, and has problems with her wings and a problem with her legs. When she runs it's a chickeny sort of Miranda gallop,  and she's bottom of the pecking order.  When we had 8 chooks, Tilda kept out of the way of the others in the Run.  She had her own shelf complete with feed station, water, and pecka block,  so she could keep off the floor and out of the way.   I used to help her down from her shelf every morning.

Despite being physically somewhat handicapped, she is incredibly intelligent,  and very happy to be picked up, cuddled, and stroked.     I've always tried to spend time with her - even when Lily was around - and since Lily's death last week I've been spending more time encouraging her.

So,I've tried to spend a few minutes each day, sitting in the run with corn in a home made dispenser.  On the first day, with encouragement, Tilda jumped on my lap so she could have extra corn.   On day 2 and onwards, she needed virtually no encouragement to settle on my lap.   On day 4, Roobarb wanted to get in on the act.

Tilda eats corn and is happy to put up with being stroked while she does it.  Roobarb eats corn, and vocally objects when I stroke her.  

Today, Tilda was doing that up-down-up-down thing with her "knees", getting ready to jump up, when Florence (big Australorp, same hatch as Tilda) pecked her hard on the head.  Poor Tilda ran under my seat, and it was a while before she ventured out.

Surprisingly, Florence (who is actually as sharp as a tack and will be Head Girl when Milly goes) hasn't cottoned on to this lap malarkey.  Or perhaps she has, and she isn't having any of it.

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