The girls are doing their part. They turned 6 weeks old today and are feathering out very nicely. Autumn and Hope have shown promising signs of trainability – their sandwich boards would read “will work for meal worms”. They learned in a heartbeat to fly up the ladder in their run and eat the meal worms out of my hand. Lily and Amelia have declined to participate; I’m hoping they’ll change their minds. Since I’ve been rotating lumbar vertebrae with alarming regularity – pretty much every time I bend, turn to the left or to the right, in fact – I have to figure out a way to entice the girls to come up to my level as they grow and transition to living in the coop instead of on the bathroom countertop.
That transition is taking a bit longer than we’d hoped. I’ve read somewhere that if it were possible to start over, people would make their coop twice as large and start twice as soon. The latter applies in our case. Since the Chicken Emperor and I are headed to Amagansett next week, the boys (shall we call them the Princes of Poultry?) are going to be left in charge of the “farm” and we’d hoped to have the chickens tucked into their coop by then. It wasn’t to be. Our painter was on vacation, and by the time he finishes, there won’t be time to finalize “coop lockdown” before we leave.
Confining chickens to the coop for a few days up to a week is recommended when they first leave the brooder. Locking them in reinforces their understanding that the coop is “home”, similar to the practice of confining a cat to the house for several days after a move. “Coop lockdown” will hopefully prevent the common lament I hear from other chicken owners: “My chickens won’t go back into the coop!” While there are actually people out there who chase chickens for a living, it doesn’t seem that anyone who lives here wants to be one of them.