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Chickens Are Diurnal
chickens
tiger_spot
The chickens have developed a routine. About 7:00, when I go feed them and let them out of the coop, they're usually still up on the roost (where Teckla can peck my head while I clean out the litter). If it's sunny, they come outside for a day of patrolling the front side of the run, digging holes in the ground, and general scratching around as soon as I've refreshed everything and spread some grain around for them to hunt. If it's cloudy, they wait until it's brightened up some. Usually they spend most of the morning outside in the sun, and hang out in the shade under the coop in the afternoon. Now and again they pop back up into the coop for a bit, and while we're eating dinner they jump back up on the high roost and settle into one corner or the other for the night.

We're glad to see them using the run finally, because we put an awful lot of work into it and it seemed for a while there like it might not get used. It took Teckla about a week to decide that she was willing to come out, and that was just very briefly right after my morning visit; then she'd climb back upstairs and they'd both spend most of the day roosting or poking around in the litter. The whole time Teckla was outside, she and Norska would call back and forth -- they spend the vast majority of their time less than a foot apart, so this being out of sight business was terribly stressful. Eventually, Teckla convinced Norska to come outside with her, and since then they've seemed quite happy with the outside world. If I leave the run door open enough, Teckla's started going straight for it -- she's very fond of eating grass and not the slightest bit concerned about being out of the run.

Galen is handling this fairly well. He was good at ignoring the chickens in the coop, but out in the run they're much more visible and interesting, so we've been reinforcing ignoring the chickens again. He'll still run at them when he's very excited, so we need more practice with that scenario, but he's got the idea most of the time. A week or so ago, I had him out in the yard to practice chicken-ignoring, and had gotten him focused on following orders around the run. I wanted to practice turning away from the chickens more, so I needed to make the chickens a little more interesting first. I had Galen sit near the door while I opened it a bit to attract the chickens' attention... and Galen leannnnnned around the door... and Teckla pecked him on the nose. He went YIPE! and ran back up to the porch and sat next to the door to indicate that he was done here and could we go back inside now please. Not my intended lesson, but I guess it'll work....

No eggs yet. (Still not king.)
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I no longer know just by the content of chickens whose journal I am reading. Here's a tidbit from a friend who only just acquired chickens, and just built their coop and run (complete with smashed thumb):

"There are two ways to pick up a chicken: 1) run around in the hot sun chasing the feathered dinosaur in circles and cussing a blue streak until you and the chicken are beat up and exhausted. Then give up and go in for an ice tea. 2) wait till it gets dark, pick up the chicken.

It's really that simple."

Hee. :) I have better luck collecting chickens than that, but I also have a whole lot of corners handy for herding them into.

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