Fate is a cruel mistress. For two years, my girls resided in the small but quaint Convent. It was easy to clean out, looked great in the border, but severely limited my flock size. So the Palace came to be. And for two years, they lived mostly harmoniously in a flock of ten. Yet, after some untimely deaths and a few girls moving to pastures new, my small flock of four began to look rather lost in their giant house.
So now they are going to live here.
This is a perfectly pleasant, back garden coop. It is not dissimilair to the Convent. Once the Palace has been taken away by its new owner, I'm sure I will embrace it with happiness and love. But as it stands in the garden, and the Palace is sill here for comparison, my heart sinks a little. This is a step backwards and there's no denying it. Yet I console myself with the knowledge that my ladies won't freeze to death in their cosy new dwelling. If this coop is a warm little flat, the Palace is a draughty stately home.
This afternoon, I moved the pekins from their old home to their new one. They reacted much as chickens will, and didn't notice for at least an hour as they were too busy scoffing toast. Then, they noticed. Maeve and Hilda, still deep in their broody psychosis, took it the hardest. They wanted a nice dark nest box to dream in, and the change in location means that their tiny bird brains can't work out how to find one. So they stand, frozen with indecision, and stare in to the middle distance. Mabel and Maude, the much more sensible mille's, spent the time pecking about at the much smaller perimeters of their new home. Once nest box angst and exploring were exhausted, however, they grouped together in the middle of the run and looked perplexed. Much chuntering ensued. They observed the puppy wandering around inside the Palace's grounds, and chuntered some more. After a brief huddle, Hilda attempted the ascent in to the house.
She managed to get half way up before her ascent became a descent. Slowly, she began to slide backwards. She greeted this development with mild surprise which quickly turned to alarm as she picked up speed. Landing on the floor in an undignified heap, she squawked her displeasure. It seems that this ramp has a steeper gradient than the Palace's.
When I next looked out, the run was empty. All four birds had found their way in to the new premises. I peered through the perspex window, and four curious birds peered back. They tested out the perches and pecked at the aubiose. The pup ran around the coop, looked in through the pop hole and made eye contact with me through the window. This blew his tiny spaniel mind.
All in all, I don't suppose they will mind the reduction in their circumstances. I'm sure I will mourn the pekin empire dream more than they will. And in the end, I know that they are well cared for and will see out their lives in comfort. This new house needs a name, though, so all suggestions are welcome.
I hope the house warming is a quiet affair.