Friday, 18 July 2008

Moving the run, and an attempt at integration

The new run was built on the patio, and so the new chickens spent their first week living on the patio. However, I was very aware that not only did this mean that WE could hear every squawk, it also meant our long-suffering neighbours could as well. So we have moved them to the bottom of the garden, which has the added bonus of us being able to use the patio. Ever since we moved in to this house in 1999 it has housed animals - mostly rabbits, but now it is completely clear.

Having moved the house and run, I thought it would be a good time to unleash Dopey on Smokey and Snowdrop. I took the canes out, and for the first 5 minutes I thought all would be well - they eyed each other up, but didn't take too much notice. However, Dopey soon remembered that her favourite game was 'chasing new chickens', and the poor new chickens fled to the house. Dopey followed them in and booted them out again, in order to chase them.

This carried on for about an hour with lulls in the warfare. I eventually put the canes back in, as it may be normal to sort out the pecking order in this way, but I didn't think my nerves could take any more!

Part of the problem I think is that they are in an enclosed run - if our fences were up then I would let all 3 of them into the garden, where there is much more space for the new girls to escape from Dopey, so we are going to build a little house for Dopey on the end of the run, and keep the run divided. Then when the garden is secure we can have another go, or they can live together but divided. She still gets the benefit of the company, but can't chase them.

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