The mini chooks have been with us about a month now. They have made themselves perfectly at home, and both are now laying absolutely perfect, tiny eggs in their washing up bowl nest box. Every day, I open up the bottom section of their hutch and prop open the garage door so that they can come and go as they please. And every day they ignore the open door, and explore the garage instead.
Now, it must be said, that they have their reasons. The pekins periodically lay seige to the garage step, and occassionally cross the threshold in an effort to take part in some up close and personal intimidation. Being tiny has its advantages, and Betsy and Vera manage to hide themselves in plain sight. In fact, several times I have had to search for them and discovered them perched at the top of a step ladder or sitting amongst the paddling pool and lawnmower. They are experts at chicken camouflage.
If I carry them outside to force some outdoor time, they run hell for leather back to the garage door. Often before I've stood up from crouching to put them on the lawn. They are speedy little madams. The rest of the flock seems quite content with this state of affairs. They don't even have to make the effort to waddle after them in a threatening way. Simply being in sight causes panic and an attempt to break the land speed record.
I've allowed this to continue while the weather has been bad, but today the sun is shining and the back step is covered in a feathery duvet of sunbathing hens. Taking a deep breath, I put both serama on the patio, and attempted to shut them out of their garage sanctuary. I say attempted, because as soon as I got one out of the way the other was in danger of being decapitated by my closing the door. Eventually, using my welly clad foot as a roadblock, I got the door safely closed without anyone being dismembered.
The tiny twosome stood in the sunshine looking utterly lost. Like a parent encouraging a reluctant child on their first day of school, I attempted to coax them on to the lawn. Maeve raised her head from her prostrate position on the step and watched my 'chook, chook, chook'ing with a disdainful eye. As the serama gradually inched forwards and appeared in her line of sight, she muttered to the others that the newbies had emerged. One by one, flattened chickens roused themselves to cast a gleeful eye in the serama's direction. However, the chances for sunbathing have been few and far between, and no-one could muster the enthusiasm to actually unpeel themselves from the warm patio slabs.
Taking this as a good sign, I've left them to it.