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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Chicken Unrest - Lavender Update

All Girlies slept together.  It is very rare for chickens to fight in the dark.  Lavender went first, she was a very tired girl.  Then I put the other three in the coop and they crept so tentatively to bed I had to chuckle.  I sat there waiting in the dark but there was no ruckus.  I googled what time was sunrise and set my alarm for 5.30am!  Out I crept and there was Lavender and two tired girls out in the coop.  They looked too tired to fight.  I wanted the others to have the opportunity to lay so I penned Lavender separately for an hour.  She is such a baby and everything is new to her.  She is 20 weeks old but has been in a barn.  She thinks grass is fantastic, she thinks bugs are fantastic and she is hyper vigilant to noises and the wild birds.  After an hour I went to check and there were three eggs!  One was very weak and broken.  I let the girls out and attempted to get lavender from the pen with a child's fishing net!  She escaped and gave me a brief run around.  I caught her and put her in the coop on her own where she is quite happy eating and drinking loads.
            I go back to work on Monday, so I really need to encourage harmony asap.  Armed with Euan's Pump Action Water Blaster:
I decided Lavender needed a 'Play Date' at about 6pm.  I assumed the role of either Mother Hen or a Cockerel I am not sure which. . .
                 Out she strutted.  She couldn't believe her luck.  She was fascinated and very nervous.  She scratched around and sampled a vast array of leaves. . . her eyes goggled trying to focus on tiny flying bugs and bless her she has a habit of crossing her legs like a baby Giraffe!  She gets her feet and legs into a tangle!  I would love to photograph that.  I couldn't take photographs as I had a heavily loaded water blaster and a child's fishing net!  She particularly loved Raspberry leaves and bramble leaves.  Then she spotted the others and they spotted her.  The pecking order has completely shifted.  Instead of Rose (bottom of the pecking order and the 'Winnie The Pooh brained Chicken) getting left out she is now firmly in the gang.
Those three are sticking together like. . . sisters!  Lavender ran straight to them. . . they tried to run to me. . . begging me to do something.  She gave Poppy, top of the pecking order, a nasty peck and puffed up ready to fight, so I blasted her!  They all scattered squawking!  They recovered and all started warily going about their business. . . their is definitely a mutual fascination going on.  Rose is the bravest and seems to be the one that is most eager to make friends but her behaviour is still very passive, she bows her head or stands as still as a statue when Lavender is right next to her.  Poppy and Daisy watched this and seemed to realise that Rose is avoiding a beating!  So they quickly started to do the same.  It is not working so well for Poppy but I was there and blasting before anything got too bad!  Poor Poppy still has her injury from yesterday.  It is a small nick, that has scabbed cleanly as she let me apply disinfectant straight away.  I was playing 'Cockerel' or 'Mother Hen' for about two hours.  It all went well considering the circumstances.  Rosie has been a loner but now the other two are following her everywhere as she seems to know what to do.  There were a few harmonious moments where there was a group of four chickens that looked like they might be able to get along.  It all ended when Lavender took a leap and perched on a bramble, higher than my head, ready to jump over the neighbours!  I swiped her with the fishing net and caught her and put her to bed!  I am having a steep learning curve in 'Poultry Care'.  I thought I was up for the challenge and I hope I am!  My Partner has not noticed today!  He and Lavender have not met.  He is not going to be at all happy with a fence jumping chicken, neither are the neighbours!  I hope she grows out of that.  The others escaped once through a hole in the fence and dug up the neighbours parsnips!  They like to help me do that!  In fact each morning I am gathering potatoes that they dig up for me, I haven't had to dig for any!
            I think I am already quite attached to Lavender, she has a sweet little song, she is only a baby and the world is all very big and is as exciting as it is daunting.  She listens to me and likes to follow me which I am quite glad about.   I have four chickens that at least think I am the boss!  That Water Blaster has earned me some healthy respect.
              I might be able to put the Water Blaster down tomorrow and take some photographs.  I am exhausted and will set my alarm for before sunrise again tomorrow. . . being a chicken Mom is hard work at the moment!  


  1. Hi Lucy
    I saw your new post and was in like a shot!!! This is getting quite exciting!!!
    Oh you must be exhausted playing the big bad boss!
    I have thoroughly enjoyed your post and you must write a book called Hen Tales or something similar!
    It sounds though as if the girls are settling though aren't they or is it early days? Good job you have been able to deal with Lavender's conditioning without your partner knowing or helping! Why do you think she's like that then?

    I had a good chuckle where you mention your use of the water blaster...thanks :-)

    Look forward to next episode.

    Amanda :-)

  2. Thanks for your lovely comments, I am glad I am not boring 'everyone' to tears...I do love 'Chicken Blogs' lol. It could be early days if she carries on fence jumping! I may be clipping wing feathers next! Just like a haircut. I have no idea why she is like this. It is probably better this way round though than three against one. It has made me realise how lovely my three are and I am sure it is because they have been 'hand reared' from day one. They trust me completely and do not fight. They are being so good. I must admit Lavender's methods are very effective as far as survival of the fittest goes...she has come out fighting and made a big impression. On her own she is very gentle and sweetly 'sings' to her little self. The Water Blaster is so far working really well. I hope the neighbours are not watching though as I stalk around the garden like Rambo, blasting chickens! xxx

  3. I love your 'Chicken Diaries'. Get a good nights sleep. XOXO

  4. You tell such a good story, Miss Lucy! I was enjoying the chickens and YOUR exploits immensely! My chickens are doing okay, but Hershey the Cuckoo Maran only has 2 tail feathers.. she's the youngest and the bottom of the pecking order. Not one of my girls has laid an egg yet.. I keep telling them if they don't get busy they'll end up in the stew pot. Don't tell them, but I would keep them as a pet before I'd do that. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  5. What stories! It is such fun to read of your chicken exploits :) It truly sounds like your hands are full for the next couple of days! I love how you're using a big old squirt gun to keep them in line. I can just picture it! I also really like how little miss Rosie has been turned into a bit of a role model. Good for her! I hope that things calm down soon since you won't be able to watch them as closely once school starts up again. Best wishes!

  6. I had no idea....even though our family lived on Flying Feather Chicken Farm in Massachusetts and then on a research poultry farm in Missouri, You are educating me, Lucy :)
    xxx Gracie

  7. You made me lough again.
    I remember having read that the flock of hens gets better along if there is a male among them :-) Keep blasting. Or get them a man (and leave the neighbourhood...)
    Have a great day and take a nap!

  8. Hi Lucy
    I'm enjoying your exploits! and I was going to suggest some wing clipping but you're already considering that! but don't think about a cockerel - I'm sure things will settle down

  9. I'm loving these chicken adventures ^_^

  10. Blimey Lucy I didn't ever think that chickens could be so tricky! I'd have thought you just bung them all in together and they'd get on cos they're a little bit well........and I hope not to offend......thick. just goes to show how much I know about it, zippo!!! You sound like the most lovely chicken mum and I'm sure you will teach them all to be nice very soon. Enjoy your early mornings, I'll be up.....spinning! x


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