26/1/2020 0 Comments
The hens now all line up at the door when I come to feed them, and make an equal rush at the hen pellets I put out first – this is what Wilma is supposed to eat, and will only eat when she is hungry and in competition with the little hens. They now fearlessly eat alongside her, and she no longer seems to mind. While she is preoccupied with chasing pellets, I settle down on the ground and the little hens come flocking over to where I feed them their pullet mash. If I have seeds or oats for them, I feed them from my hand, and when Wilma wanders over to see what they are getting, I feed her treats while the little hens eat their mash. It is an excellent system but while I was away in Auckland Simon found they could all sort it out harmoniously enough amongst themselves without a system at all. The only time I saw Wilma assert her position in the pecking order today was when I opened the coop door to leave, and Maude wanted to come out with us. I made the mistake a few days ago of allowing Maude to come out and wander around in the grass outside. She had a glorious time, sampling all the weeds, eating the little bugs off the dandelion stalks, digging around in the loose earth and chatting to Goldie and Mabel on the other side of the wire. I watched her for about half an hour, and although she is the world’s most charming hen, even so I was both bored and tense, ready to scoop her up the moment we saw a cat. It reminded me very much of when the children were small and I spent hours watching them doing not very much at all, or, rather, having a rich inner life I had no access to. Now she hovers around the door to the coop looking for her chance to make a dash for freedom again, which she will be allowed to have from time to time.
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