I think that Claire must have been listening in when I said I wondered how she was going to handle letting her chicks gain their independence. Or regaining her own independence, maybe?
Since making that post, I’ve been watching them, only to see that it was starting.
Yesterday afternoon, Claire walked off and left the chicks to fend for themselves most of the afternoon. They hung out near her, but she did not stop the pullets from chasing them or pecking if they wanted treats the chicks had.
The day before, she had done just that. Stepped in. Protected. Admonished.
She maintained a distance until one of them – usually Eugenie – became frightens and began crying for her in plaintive, sharp “Momma! Momma! Momma!” Then she would come walk them a while, calming her children and then subtly wandering off once again.
This mornjng when I opened the coop door, the chicks came out with a pack of the pullets, made their to the dish, and were chased away by … Everyone, basically.
Eugenie likes to eat standing in the dish. No one let her. Dani had to budge his way in line, only to be pushed out.
They took perches on the wall (picture above) and pouted, waiting for the crowd to thin and the important first wave (which included their mother) left the dish. They are no longer welcome in that group of privileged First Breakfasters.
I don’t know how long the transition will take. Claire was still sleeping with them last night. But we are definitely seeing the beginning of the end of their ‘childhood.’