Monday, February 25, 2013

What the heck is going on??!!

We thought we had this chicken parenting thing under control.  Not so.  On Sunday morning I was a little slow getting out to the coop.  We usually like to let the girls out as soon as the sun is up, especially when the weather is mild like it was this past weekend.  As soon as I slid the chicken door open, the big girls piled out but Chirpy lagged behind.  She strolled a few steps down the ladder then turned around and flew up on top of the insulated part of the coop!  Huh??!!  That is no place for a chicken - it's REALLY dusty and there are electrical wires and sheets of pink insulation up there.  yuck!

She raced towards the back side of the coop and all I could see was the tip of her tail.  I put some treats near the front edge to lure her towards me, but she was not interested.  I then hauled out the ladder to get a better look.  I saw one angry chicken squatting in the back corner with her beak wide open, making sounds like an irritated cow.  She obviously did not want me invading her privacy so I was about to back off and let her lay an egg when I spotted 2 other pretty green eggs near her.  This was NOT her first trip up there!

Chirpy's hideaway

She quickly laid her egg then came to the front edge and let me carry her down.  Upon closer examination Eric realized that she had pecked at the Styrofoam insulation in one spot to create a "nest" for herself.  She is the only one of our girls small enough and light enough to fly up there, and she did, repeatedly.

Chirpy's custom-made Styrofoam nest cradles her eggs

As I carried her down I had a little chat with her and reminded her that she was a good chicken but that it was time for her to start revisiting the nesting box.  She had a little snack then joined her friends under the deck.

That evening Chirpy tried to fly up to her special haven, only to bounce off the cardboard barrier that Eric had installed to keep her out.  Once she realized that her options were limited she strolled into the coop and found a spot on a roost.  We are left to wonder how long she's been hanging out up there amidst the cobwebs. 

It can't be easy being such a diminutive, mild-mannered hen when there are big bossy ones ruling the roost.  She did have a bloody comb on Sunday, as if someone pecked at her.  I was concerned that she was being picked on when she was trying to lay eggs, so I put the second nesting box in the coop again to give her another spot to find some peace and quiet.  I was happy to find one of her pretty green eggs in a nesting box this afternoon. 

laying eggs is hard work - time for a snack

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