In case any of you are interested, this is the coop, complete with its new occupants:
It’s unlikely that when I go out to them today, I will recognise them by sight. Mostly, now, a hen is a hen is a hen.
However I sat quietly in the coop yesterday, to be honest I had forgotten just how absolutely blissful that is. No phone, no noise, no outside world, just watching them starting to forage, something that they will never have done before but which is normal chicken behaviour. I saw three very different personalities:
- One of them is an adventurer. We erected a barrier to keep them close to the coop for the first few days, and she not only circumvented this but came across the garden and found the house. When I shooed her out, her instinct was to peck at me rather than to retreat. (A chicken’s peck delivers a short, sharp, shock but does not otherwise cause damage.) So, she is feisty, which I like. She has fight in her. Her downside is that she is also feisty with the other girls. You know the term “pecking order”? This is where it comes from. They are establishing a hierarchy and this one definitely sees herself as top hen. In our place, where there is ample space for all of them, it doesn’t matter, but when they are used commercially, these birds are kept eighty to a cage, so it becomes a problem. Even though the UK introduced legislation to outlaw battery farming (but only in 2012) this lack of space means that the birds can become unnaturally aggressive toward each other. They’ll relax, given time.
- One of them is a thinker. Chickens will often move their heads in a very jerky motion, but she sat for ages, absolutely still. I like someone who thinks about the world.
- The last is the tamest. She thinks nothing about coming close enough that we can easily pick her up. Mostly, chickens will allow you to pick them up, but all the same, they’d rather you didn’t. I like that she doesn’t fear us, because there is no need for her to fear us.
My worst fault is that I overthink things. Do you think I might be doing that here? 🤣