It is very quiet at home since the rooster boys and hen chicks have gone. I could say it is peaceful but I think it is more like something is missing.
On the first night when the chicks had gone, I watched the girls get themselves ready for bed.
About thirty minutes before sunset, the girls ( and the chicks when they were here) start to congregate in a certain spot about 10 metres from the chicken coop. It is quite funny to watch, especially when I had the five chicks here as well. No matter where they all were, at a certain time of the day (sunset dependant), they start making their way towards the congregation spot. Some wandering nonchalantly and others running as though they might miss out on something. Once they get to this spot, they start to frantically peck at the grass to fill their tummies (crops actually) before they go to bed. Once they have their fill, they then slowly make their way across the final ten metres or so, to the coop (just on sunset) and put themselves to bed.
If the chicks went to bed before Helen or Hannah Hen, there would be a huge ruckus resulting in the chicks running most indignantly back down the ramp and outside where they would wait until both Hannah and Helen had settled themselves in the best bedtime spots. The chicks would then tentatively go back up the ramp, peer inside to see if the coast was clear, and then find a safe spot to sleep as far away from Hannah and Helen as they could.
On the night the chicks left, the three girls still congregated in the same spot thirty minutes before sunset but it was somehow different. They were standing around looking unsettled. They were standing looking and listening, as though they were on alert. They weren’t pecking at the grass. As it got darker, they anxiously moved towards the coop but when they got to the coop door, they didn’t seem to want to go in. I wondered if I should go outside and try to entice them in with treats but I decided to leave them and watch what they do.
As it got darker and darker, they were still standing outside. The sun was down behind the hills and I was beginning to worry that they may not go to bed that night. But then, Hilda wandered slowly in and up the ramp and Helen followed. That left only Hannah Hen outside. By this time it was almost dark. She Hannah Hen turned away from the coop door and went off around the back of the coop. Oh dear. She walked around the whole perimeter of the coop and came back to the door. Then she looked around some more before deciding to go in. Poor Hannah Hen. Even though she didn’t have any motherly feelings towards these chicks that she hatched, once she abandoned them at ten weeks, did she maybe deep down realise her babies were missing?
I like to think that they had all noticed that the teenage chicks were missing. I like to think that they missed them. I like to think that they were waiting for them before they went to bed.
My husband said that they wouldn’t go to bed because I was sitting by the window watching them but I don’t think so.