… aka Lessons in How to Be a Chicken, as given by Claire to her babies.
Ever since Claire’s remaining babies have passed the 1-week mark, she has been busy teaching them about Life, and how to be chickens. The title of this post is ‘baby steps’ but in reality, its more like ‘baby leaps and bounds.’
Claire had them outdoors at Day 2, running around in the grass outside the run by the end of the first week. Pip never even left the coop until the end of Week 1. (To be fair, it was the first week of December.)
She’s taught them to scratch and forage, dirt bathe, and to go nuts whenever I come down to the coop, because there might be TREATS. It’s cute because Eugenie gets really excited and flies when she thinks there are treats.
Wednesday, she taught them to fly up on top of the wall surrounding the run. I was there to see it, and got a video of their elaborate Hide & Seek game once I realized what was going.
I happened to be sitting on the steps, observing the flock when she brought the babies with her into the run. The passed out of sight, but i could hear her bucking in her “listen up, kids, this is how you do this” voice. The Instructor Voice. Then, Claire left the run, still bucking. The babies didn’t follow, and didn’t follow, and didn’t follow. So I went to investigate why, and this is what I found:
She stood on the other side, bucking while they figured out how to jump over and over. It’s a 4 3/4 foot fence.
Yesterday, the babies put her jumping/flying/climbing lessons to good use, by mastering a rather surprising new lesson… How to Get into the Roosts.
I guess this means she’s done using my maternity suite, huh? And after only two weeks!
Ah, well… the next hen is already starting to go broody, anyway, but that’s a story for another post.
Editing this (since no one’s read it yet, how would you know?) to add… I’ve made a casual observance above that it took Pip a lot longer to make it outside into the run. He also was about 4 weeks old when he joined Abby in the roosts. BUT, perhaps the biggest difference I’ve noted between Pip and Claire’s wee ones is that the other chickens are tolerating Claire’s babies better than they did Pip.
My question is, why is this? Is it because of the difference in mothers? Is it because I created the maternity suite so Claire and the babies aren’t hogging the coop during the day? Or because it’s summer and she keeps them outdoors all the time? (Except for around 4-5pm, when she decides it’s their bedtime and puts them in bed for the night. Every day for the last 2 weeks, no joke, Kids are on a STRICT regimen!) Or is it because Pip was the first hatch any of them had experienced? They didn’t know what to expect and he was annoying, what with the constant cheep-chee-cheep peep-peep-peep all day and night.
Or is it a combination?
Whatever the reasons, Dani and Eugenie seem to have free reign to run wherever the want. They often stray from Claire’s side, or get lost in the treat-getting times when everyone is running around like mad things. I have yet to see them pecked or attacked. They even hang out in the “Club House” (a bush the older flock members like for shade) with everyone else an no one minds.
The converse, I’m pretty sure Pip is just being tolerated because Abby still likes him.