Tilda is approaching her 8th month annversary of being a house hen.
She did try to go back and live with the others a couple of weeks ago, managing 3 days and 2 nights with them. She was attacked, quite nastily,in the end by Poppy. Poppy had been (and still is) broody for some weeks and hadn't been out to see that Tilda had become a regular day visitor to their enclosure. In an attempt to break Poppy of her broodiness, I'd shut her out of the nestbox. She wasn't happy.
The attack shook Tilda a bit. She not only resumed overnighting in the kitchen, but she stopped wanting to go in with the Big Girls during the day. Instead, she went back to sitting under the Pampas.
We had planned to eventually put her out in the garden in the Go with her own run, but the extra-hot weather put paid to that idea. Last weekend, as we were clearing out the sheds, we acknowledged that Tilda was unlikely to be going to live outside at all, so we dismantled the Go run, and packed it all away.
Yesterday morning, DH remarked at the amount of poo (or "Tildy-bombs" ) that Tilda had produced. He doesn't often do the morning Tildy-bomb disposal run, so I thought he just wasn't used to it. Up to now, she has pooed with a chicken's normal frequency, but the amount produced each time has been tiny.
This morning, I saw what he meant.
There were quite a lot of bombs. Not only that, they were normal chicken sized poos. All normal chicken poo texture. Does this mean she's getting properly well, rather than just "doing well considering that she's a bit under the weather"? Could I put up with this for long?
And then a thought struck me. Thank heavens, for all of us, there weren't any normal caecal poos.
That's the critical thing, isn't it? "Yet."
I need to work out my emergency Caecal-Poo strategy because, believe you me, the first appearance of one of those buggers, and Tildy will be ejected from the kitchen, and will not be allowed back in.
I've got several outline options.
- remantle (or whatever the opposite of dismantle is) the Go, and find somewhere to put it
- Put Tilda in the purple cube run, she did manage the orange cube ladder for two nights after all
- Put the Go, minus it's run, in the purple cube run. If we take the ladder off the Cube, it should just about fit
- Put that big egg shaped cat bed in the Cube run, Tilda could sleep in that (Lotti did for a while, which is why we removed it from their run).
Option 1 - most hassle, both immediately and on an ongoing basis. Will keep as a fallback.
Option 2 - easiest option, but would TIlda manage it? Probably need DH to build yet another wooden ladder (or I could re-deploy the other one). Best option if it works.
Option 3 - easy-ish option, but doesn't give Tilda much space.
Option 4 - second easiest option - would be OK for the summer but not for the winter.
I think my emergency plan will be a combination of Option 4 and 2. That way, Tilda could choose where she wants to sleep. If she doesn't want to manage the ladder, she can use the Ovum thing.
If she continues to not use the Cube, and the weather worsens, then I can implement option 3 or 1.
Yes, that sounds like a Plan. I feel better now I have a plan in place.
Meanwhile, I made Tilda go outside, even though it's raining. She can sit in the Pampas and keep dry. She sat under the barbeque table for a while, before deciding she wanted to go in the walk in run with the Big Girls.
I let her in, saw Poppy's hackles go up, so I quickly opened the pop hole so Poppy could go back on the nest. In the scheme of things, breaking Poppy's broodiness has to take a back seat to getting Tilda access to the others (even if it's only a day pass).
I've been keeping an eye on things both by looking out of the kitchen window and by looking at the RunCam. The Girls are leaving her alone, which is a good start.