Oh I think you under-estimate me! She is Janet. And Janet is a Barnevelder.
Actually, I cheated a fair bit. I have always been very struck by how beautiful she is and ages ago I studied her profile and since then I have researched the breed because I would love a chicken that gorgeous. I think I have Barnevelders in my future!
When things were aggressive at roosting time here, I took up a poking stick. I only poked once or twice, then all I had to do was hold it, that stepped down to reaching for it, then to just being there and finally they could be trusted to settle without pecking.An Intervention
After shooting the roosting video I decided I would observe roosting in person for a while. So each evening for a few nights I sat outside Abe watched how they went to bed from the outside of the coop.
Now my presence does effect how they roost. They will stay up longer assuming I have treats. This tends to draw out the process with Aurora and Sydney starting out until the last possible moment waiting for treats. This will usually have the effect of calming down the roosting with Lilly and Phyllis getting settled early and everyone not having enough daylight to pick on anyone.
Normally, this is my influence on the process.
As you all know I try my best to let them run their own society as best I can. I hate to directly intervene in their organization outside of whatever my presence among them might create.
The other night I intervened in the roosting process. I had to. It was quickly going too far for my comfort.
I watched as first Lilly, then Sansa, and then worst of all Aurora ran Phyllis completely out of the coop. Much like Tsuki's Gandalf move, Aurora was dead set on Phyllis not roosting in the coop. Aurora roosts right by the door and would jump down and chase Phyllis every time she tried to enter the coop. As a result, Phyllis was desperately looking for somewhere else to roost.
The last hen I had that liked to roost outside was Maleficent. It was a result of Lilly doing the same thing to her and Aurora. It cost Maleficent her life. I was not going to let this continue.
So I called Phyllis to me. Like always she came running. Of course Aurora thought I had something good to eat and she came following after Phyllis. I scooped poor Miss Phyllis up and decided to place her on the roost as far from Aurora as possible.
That meant someone had to move. I opened the coop door and there sat poor Hattie all molty. I need you to move Hattie. I want you between Aurora and Phyllis on the roost. She did not want to move.
So I poked her with my finger. Not hard, just a little poke.
Poke Poke Poke
Hattie shuffled down the roost. I put Phyllis on the roost in Daisy’s (the greatest hen ever) favorite spot.
Hattie did not like that. She started towards Phyllis and pecked her to get the spot back.
I was not having it. I poked Hattie again, Poke Poke Poke
She did not like that and shimmied down the roost away from Phyllis and settled.
In the meantime, Aurora had re-entered the coop and assumed her nightly spot at the other end of the roost. Everyone settled on the roost and I closed the door.
All of this solved one night. I pondered what the long term solution might be. I was very concerned because I can't intervene every night and roosting outside is dangerous.
So without a solution and with much trepidation I went back out the next night to observe. What I saw made me very happy. Everyone roosted just like the old days. No chasing, no fuss. Every hen in her spot. No roosting shenanigans at all. They all went to bed quietly, in order. No muss, no fuss.
So did Hattie read everyone the riot act after losing her spot and getting poked?
Or did this establish Phyllis as protected by me and thus inviolate?
Further observation to come.
She sounds like a lovely hen.
I wouldn't take this to the bank, but she's never been broody. She reliably lays one egg every 2-3 days, nice and steady. She used to be bossy but now her confidence is much better so she's relaxing more and leaving Peggy to do all the strong arm work. Sometimes she picks a seed from my shoes and she's very courageous.
I don't know if anyone has suggested it yet (see below), but this cockerel could be named Emile!Just Call Me Match-Maker Michelle!
Ok, I have to brag. The stars aligned in chicken land TWO nights in a row with my assistance.
1.) Wednesday after work, I saw a Nextdoor post about a found hen. This was about nine hours after the post, with no hits. I posted on a different local forum here that has a much broader audience and found the owner in 12 minutes! She was so happy and thought for sure her hen was "a goner" (her words).
2.) While trying to help with that hen, before I found the owner, I texted a chicken friend and asked if she knew anyone with a missing Gold Laced Wyandotte. Instead of texting back, she called. We chatted a bit and she shared that her daughter's beloved rooster had just recently died. (I remember seeing pics of her on facebook several years back walking him in a stroller!) She LOVED her rooster and was heartbroken. My friend asked that I let her know if anyone is looking to get rid of a rooster. The next day, I texted my other close chicken friend and asked, "You have a bantam rooster, but are keeping him, right?" She texted back right away, "Do you need one? I found out today I have 2!" Ironically, "Emily" decided to crow the very day I had a different friend in need of a rooster. So today they connected and now Emily has a new loving home and the heartbroken teenager has a cockerel to dote over.
So there you have it. I connected 1.) found hen with lost owner and 2.) cockerel in need of a new home with a loving new family over the course of two nights.
Perfect. I have a similar routine with Mad Hatter, who like to challenge me from time to time. I just need to have the spray bottle in my hand to back him off now. He sees it and starts pecking around on the ground like, "doo-da doo-da doo....nothing to see here".When things were aggressive at roosting time here, I took up a poking stick. I only poked once or twice, then all I had to do was hold it, that stepped down to reaching for it, then to just being there and finally they could be trusted to settle without pecking.
Jays usually will mob and harass a hawk, and drive it away. So maybe the chickens were taking their cue from the Jays, whether they actually saw what transpired before the ruckus or not. I noticed my Buckeyes take note whenever the crows are calling their mob call. They get very alert and still.No, that was years ago. I so wish I hsd my phone with me at the time, as we had a MAJOR episode of it this morning. Buttercup started with the high pitched trill and progressed to a lower pitched rumble. Lucky joined in the rumble. All 13, including the babies, were perfectly still. A couple minutes later, Sunny (baby) did it in a very high pitched (of course, with her baby voice) succession of trills. The adults did listen to her. The flock was seeing something I was not. I did hear a hawk, but mostly the scrub jays were making a ruckus. Perhaps the hawk went after them snd the flock witnessed it?