gradually getting better…

So after over 2 weeks the TOP DOG (hoppy or hopalong since her bumblefoot last year, another post about chicken surgery at home seems appropriate at some point) seems not to be getting at the new ones, but now ‘the other one’ (she has been called the other one for quite a while, we should rename her really as the two new ones have names!) has started. TOWPCOE thinks it may be that she now has to establish her second rung on the pecking order, lets hope it’s a bit quicker than last time.
After a desperate phone call for some advice from the breeder we let them all out last Tuesday, it was quite tricky getting them all back home, as the new ones were still wary of us, and pretty terrified of the old ones. It has got a bit easier, the second night we had to leave silver in an arc outside til it was dark, another night the old ones got home first so herding the new ones into the run so they were all together was a bit of a hassle, silver was hunched down out in the run after dark, I just picked her up and popped her inside.
One evening the new ones went in the coop early, I shut the door so they were safe and left the run open for the old ones, after we came back from the pub, I had to climb in the run to get them from the far end and pop them into the coop, without kneeling in all the shit, not an easy task.
I love the way they go floppy after dark, however used to being handled they are hens always seem a bit tense but at night there’s no resistance at all.
Once last year the door of the run had been shut to mow the grass so they couldn’t put themselves away when we were out, TOWPCOE found one hunched up in the porch, one under our massive redwood, but the third was nowhere to be found, luckily there was no fox or badger around that night and she turned up in the morning… So as long as the new ones are tempted in first the old ones seem to manage to wait, but we have to get to them just before dark or who knows where they’ll end up roosting.
This afternoon they were all about 5 metres away from each other with no bickering, though I don’t know what happened when I walked away!
I have just put the new ones in to have a good feed before the others go in, as it seems the old ones don’t let them out of the coop and therefore no access to the layer pellets until we let them out in the morning. I gave them some cheap pasta cooked up tonight, something different in a white box as they were getting a bit bored of wild bird seed, and are learning to follow a white box at least within their comfort zone. For the rest of the day they are free ranging and eat all sorts of stuff, (another post about odd things that chickens eat will appear at some time).
The new ones are not venturing far from the run yet. I tried to tempt them a bit further, with bird seed in a white box, to the door of the polytunnel today, where there is a lovely big dry dustbath hole but no luck. They’ve started their own under the currant bushes, but with all this rain there’s not a lot of dust!

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