Today should have been a very exciting and happy day for me.
I had been looking forward to today, ever since we decided to get some company for the chook that turned up at our place a few months ago, whom we named Hannah Hen. Today is the day that the two new chooks (Hilda and Helen) are to be let out of their coop to free range with her. I saw them interacting yesterday through the wire of the run and it seemed promising. No major hissy fits from either side.
So this morning the girls in the coop seemed to be up earlier than usual. Maybe they knew their big day was upon them. They beat Hannah Hen out of bed which is unusual. She is normally outside my bedroom window by 8am looking in waiting for me to get up and give her her breakfast. By 9am still no sign of Hannah Hen. Little alarm bells start ringing.
So I got up and moved the coop to give the new chooks fresh grass and made sure their water was clean. I wasn’t planning on letting them out until later in the afternoon as that is what my internet research suggested so that they didn’t have time to go too far from the coop before it was time for bed.
By 10am, still no sign of Hannah Hen so I went to the part of the garden that she has made her patch, called her (choooook, chook, chook, chook, chook) and shook the container that holds her grain. That always makes her come running. But no. Not this time. No sign of Hannah Hen. The last time I saw her was 5pm last night when she waddled back to her patch in the garden to put herself to bed.
So at 2:00pm, trying to feel excited and happy, I opened the door of Hilda and Helen’s coop to let them start foraging in their new home without Hannah Hen to greet them.
They peeped out and peeped out some more until finally they decided it was safe to venture out. Slowly they made their way down to the garden, about five metres away from their coop.
They poked around and then pecked bugs off the cabbage tree and the manuka and then poked around some more. They looked up startled as the birds in the trees made their loud noises. They looked up startled when the neighbours lamb bleated. But they were happy for me to sit and watch them while they pecked and poked and looked up.
So what happened to Hannah Hen? Did she turn up during the day? Sadly no. But I haven’t completely lost hope. She might turn up tomorrow but I think the chances are slim. I have an idea what may have happened but will leave that for tomorrow’s post. You never know, I may not need to write that post.
So how did Hilda and Helen cope with their time out foraging and how easy was it to get them back into their coop? They stayed in the same area of the garden for about thirty minutes until a Tui flew past making a bit of a noise and they skedaddled back to their coop and wouldn’t come back out. So my concern that they may run away and not come back once their coop was opened was definitely unfounded. But I never expected for one minute that Hannah Hen wouldn’t be there to greet them.