Thursday, 20 September 2012

Flock animals

Poppy (new Wlesh Black/Australorp) and Lotti (Exchequer Leghorn) are so lovely, they have already carved out little soft spots for themselves.

Poppy is a really gentle friendly girl. Right from hatching, she was one of the four chicks that clamoured to be picked up.  I've continued to develop this by frequent pick-ups, each rewarded with a treat.  I've also encouraged her to come and see me when I am sitting outside,  and she gets a reward each time she comes into the kitchen to find me (something which I suspect I will regret later).

Lotti is a typical Leghorn. Very skittish and flighty.  She doesn't want to be picked up, thank you. However, she does want to come and land on me.  She's been learning to leap and land on my arm, bird-of-prey style.  I had to do this because her previous habit was aiming herself at Poppy on my arm, or landing willynilly on my head. Highly amusing, but it was wearing a bit thin.   Lotti jas a deformed foot, which doesn't impede her running around or flying, but it does mean she can't grip when she's trying to perch on something.

They roam around the garden together, and snuggle up together for rests.  Occasionally their roaming takes them close to the netting which separates them from the Big Girls.   The Big Girls do their best to ignore the Littlees, but every so often we hear a commotion resulting from one of the Biggees launching themself furiously at the netting, and scaring off the Littlees.   There have been a couple of sharp pecks, but usually the Littlees stay just out of range.

For the last few days I've temporarily opened up both free ranging areas, so they get half the garden each but can't get in to each others areas.   I don't want to do any joint free ranging until the Littlees reach point of lay (or maybe ever) where they might be grown up enough mentally to make a stand.  But this does give both sets some new areas to explore, and they do come across each other at the Borders every so often.

Yesterday, and again today,  I noticed that Poppy and Lotti were snuggled together for a rest - but along one of the borders.  Miles away from where they normally rest.   On the other side of the border, several of the Biggees were also having a rest. 

I don't, for a moment, think the Biggees have accepted the Littlees.  I think it was just a warm day, and everyone was chilling out.  The Littlees (presumably) wanted to feel part of a bigger flock; and the Biggees were (I suspect) pretending they hadn't noticed.

It was rather sweet.

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