We seem to have settled down into a routine. The girls are sleeping in the rafters, which is where they want to be, and we just come out in the morning and evening to open & close the door between the henhouse and the run. We also let them run around the garden for a little while in the early evening. Things seem absolutely secure–well, OK, I did have a nightmare about a raccoon and installed a more critter-proof latch on the door to the run–but really, there have been no attempts at break-ins and we have no more chicken coop construction projects on the horizon.
In about another month, we start adding calcium to their diet in anticipation of egg-laying time. Hoping to have some eggs in August.
Abigail and Eleanor are a bit stand-offish, but Dolley’s still quite friendly and Bess is all over us all the time. I’ll kneel down to offer them some scratch, and the other three will initially run off (I swear it’s an instinctual chicken response to run from everything, even the person who raised you and is about to hand you food, and as soon as they do it they seem to wonder why and run right back), but Bess always runs right up to us, ready for anything. She’s also the only one who seems interested in eating snails or slugs, which further endears her to us.
They also seem to be working on their pecking order–they run up to each other and sort of puff out their feathers and bump chests, which I suppose is quite menacing if you’re another chicken but it just looks silly to us. And they have been getting to know Loretta (LeRoy always disappears when the chickens come out to play), walking right up to him as he lays on the garden path watching them warily, and even chasing him a bit. Poor cat. How humiliating to be chased around by a three month old chicken. Will be interesting to see how their relationship evolves over the summer.