The chooks are now happily settled in to their new abode. They adore the run perches, and scratching about in the aubiose. However, they are less enamoured of the sleeping area. The coop is huge compared to what they're used to, and very, very dark. When they need to lay, they timidly scuttle in to the nearest nest box from the pop hole, expel the egg and then run hell for leather back outside. Only the newly broody (again) Kiki shows any willing to spend time in the spacious indoors. At night, Margot goes in to join her flockmate, but the others snuggle up on an outside perch.
So, at dusk, I trek out to the Palace, and stuff birds in to the pop hole. One by one, I shove them inside. As they're in their sleepy trance state at this point, they don't happily wander over to the indoor perches. They stay plonked just inside the door. As subsequent birds are deposited, the preceeding hen is shunted across the coop floor. What you end up with, is a hypnotised conga line of chickens. I then turn a torch on inside the house, which wakes them up a bit. The sensible Mille's shake themselves and climb aboard the perch block. Doris slowly comes round and joins them. Maeve's first instinct on waking up is to duff up Celia and Purdy, who leg it in to the furthest nest box. Once all of this has calmed down, I turn off the torch and lock them in. I'm really hoping that they get over this fear of the great indoors quite rapidly.
The Palace was always destined to stand on the new patio. However, after just a few days it's become apparent that it needs to move. Much as I love hens, they are not tidy creatures. Within minutes of being released, they tend to kick bedding out of the door and poo a lot. The ever tolerant husband made an executive decision, and began digging out the border. I frantically removed plants before they fell foul of his spade and hurried to replant them in a safer place. The girls watched all of this activity from their lofty vantage point, occassionally shrieking encouragement. The ever tolerant husband just loves being serenaded.
By early evening, he had managed to lay four enormous paving slabs, and called it a day. As soon as he went inside to clean up, I released the chooks. With great joy, they ran/flapped over to the newly excavated ground and happily ate their own body weight in bugs. Unfortunately, in doing so, they managed to scratch earth everywhere and half bury the painstakingly layed slabs. Ahem. I hurriedly excavated the site with my foot.
The Convent was sold yesterday, for the amazing price of £122. The buyer was so keen, he actually drove an hour along the motorway to collect it as soon as the auction finished. I watched it go with a mixture of relief (Yay! My garden back!) and sadness. After all, it was the coop that began my chicken keeping journey.
I wish its new owners well as they begin theirs.