Remember how 2.0 roosted with 1.0 on the real roosts that first night of their freedom, and I was all “it won’t last and here are the reasons why?” Seems I forgot one.
1.0 got righteously pissed.
The very next night, every time a 2.0 flew up onto the roosts, a 1.0 would peck at her until she disembarked. They were not kidding around. No babies allowed. That left the little ladder, of course, all ready for them to roost on amicably and without friction. Just as I had planned.
Here’s the things with ladder roosts: each roost is at a different height. So? I hear you say. So…the chicken on the highest roost wins. She is the head chicken. She is the HBIC. Highest roost = status.
Ruh roh. Didn’t think that one through, but when I did, I remembered that this was the reason I opted for even roosts last year, when the coop was first constructed. There it was, bed time, sun setting, and 2.0 was wrestling for the top spot. I couldn’t leave them like that (well, I could, but I’d rather avoid competitiveness in the flock whenever possible).
Ever adaptive (not by nature as my mother will tell you; the chickens have made me so), I looked around for a roost of sufficient length and an appropriate, uniform height. I glanced inside the third pony stall, the one that had been used as the rat killing booth. Carelessly stacked on top were The Man’s two wooden sawhorses.
(Insert angelic musical chord here)
I wrestled them out of the stall (and I do mean “wrestled”; one of them was somehow tied to the stall with rope), through the inner coop door and into the midst of nineteen hysterical chickens. It was…perfect.
(Another angelic musical chord, if you’d be so kind)
Every time a 2.0 jumped up onto the real roosts, I’d scoop her up (screaming, of course…the bird, not me) and deposit her onto a sawhorse. They got it immediately, and soon all six were happily ensconced on their own roosts. 1.0 was happy; 2.0 was happy; I was happy. 2.1 was screaming to be let out of the crate, but that’s a given these days.
The sawhorses are easily shifted aside for morning clean up, and they will do quite nicely until something new can be constructed as a permanent roost for 2.0 and 2.1. As you might surmise, it will not be a ladder roost as (ha!) planned. At this point, I am cooking up something devilishly clever…
Every night since, we’ve had an orderly bedtime; 2.0 waits for 1.0 to be in the coop and up on the roosts (hey, even rats learn), and they organise themselves up on the sawhorses.
I’ve noticed that 2.0, while they do stay together as a group of six, tends to subdivide by breed, and roosting time is no exception.
Above, Dorothy wants to get up, and the Australorps are all, pfffft. I don’t think so.
But they do intermingle in the end.
As for 2.1, they are sick and tired of being the babies. They’ve been roosting on that little stick for a few weeks now, and, while I’ve not been paying attention, it has become woefully inadequate. Not only are they lacking space in that corner for their rapidly growing bodies, but if that thin, dry stick doesn’t splinter under their growing weight, it will be a minor miracle.
Here are some pics of them from last night, showing how difficult it is for them to get comfy.
Me thinks a bigger roost, further from the wall of the crate, is in order, stat.
So, the integration is proceeding very smoothly, but there’s a catch, which should surprise no one. The Man doesn’t exactly know that 2.0 is using his sawhorses as roosts. I know what you’re thinking: he does now! Nope. He reads this blog very seldom, if at all, and goes into the coop even less frequently.