I had a plan to integrate our new chicken, Aunty Dorrie, into our backyard brood. She is the last of the chickens from the farm across the road to run away and come live with us.
She was at the stage where she was spending every day, all day with my girls (and boy) but would sleep somewhere in the bushes down the hill in front of our house.
Aunty Dorrie was by now, used to the purple the treat tin. She didn’t feed from it while I held it but did when I put it on the ground and moved away. So the plan was to entice her into the spare coop with the purple treat tin and shut her in for a week. This way, she would get used to sleeping in the safety of a coop and then it would only be a matter of time before she followed the others into their coop to sleep at night and I would have a fully integrated chicken brood. And of course, with the bonus that Aunty Dorrie would be laying in the nesting boxes. The next step of my plan was for her to go broody and become a mum. (My other bantam, Hannah Hen hasn’t gone broody yet this Spring which is unusual.)
The plan to capture Aunty Dorrie was to be carried out on Labour weekend because that would give me three days to see my plan through. But on the Friday morning before Labour weekend, my husband informed me we were going away for the long weekend on a surprise trip. Oh no! I would have to leave my capturing of Aunty Dorrie to the following weekend.
But when we got back from our trip on Monday afternoon, there was a chicken missing. Aunty Dorrie was not with the others. Did a hawk finally get her? Did a possum or a weasel get her while she was sleeping in the bushes alone? The next morning she wasn’t waiting outside the coop for the others to be let out, like she always does. I felt bad. If I hadn’t gone away for the weekend, I would have her captured and safe.
Then I had a thought. Maybe she is safe and sitting on a clutch of eggs somewhere.
And the following weekend, there she was. She was obviously on a feeding and ablutions break. She was making that familiar bok bok sound they do when they are broody. She was incredibly hungry and thirsty and in a rush to do everything. Then when she had finished, she ran as fast as her little legs would carry her, back to the bushes where she disappeared.
She had foiled my plan. Clever chicken. That was twenty one days ago. I am expecting her to bring her chicks out any day now.