For the last few weeks, Vera and the chicks have wandered about the garden with Betsy and Smudge. There have been no assassination attempts, and amusingly the older hens seem quite scared of the tiny chicks. This is at least in part due to the fact that they can fly reasonably well, so will suddenly zoom off across the garden in an alarming manner when everyone else is sunbathing. They are unable to steer with any great success, so If Betsy or Smudge gets between them and their mother, they tend to get 'goosed' by a pin balling fluff ball. This leads to wide eyed squawking from the goosed party, and a general mistrust of the tiny duos intentions. Silvio, who is very obviously a boy at this stage, has even taken to posturing and fronting up to the pekins in the Palace grounds. Maeve watches him from the other side of the weld mesh as he does his 'I'm well 'ard' dance, and she slowly sharpens her talons on the concrete floor.
With this in mind, I think today is the day that I turn the serama hutches back in to one living accommodation. Silvio will hopefully be found his own harem before too long, and Hoppy is still showing all signs of being a pullet. I hope she isn't going to suddenly turn male on me, because I'm quite attached to the little chicken. So, with that in mind, in the end I should have four birds living in the large double hutch.
At the moment, I have five birds living in three separate cells. Hopefully, if all goes to plan, I will end up with just Smudge sleeping alone. I don't expect that to last for too long, though. Betsy and Smudge are already free ranging side by side. Unlike my feisty pekin madams, serama don't seem to have the stomach for ongoing mortal combat.
Speaking of the feisty pekin madams, Hilda is still broody. Until I get Smudge out of the parakeet cage, I have nowhere to stick the determined harridan to break her. She sits in the nest box like a malevolent cloud, grumbling and hissing at all who approach her. Naturally, the others are getting fed up. I now have a white pekin with a purple head in an effort to deter the disgruntled flock from pecking at her as she takes up space in their favourite nest box. I kick her out several times a day, Which at least ensures she won't lose condition. Ultimately, though, I know that this is one determined girl and she is unlikely to snap out of it without a trip to the slammer.
The broody relay race is well underway.