Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Purple Chicken Syndrome

Gradually I'm introducing Archie Archer to the rest of the girls. It's so cute, every morning we take Archie and Mum out of their night-time coop in the walled garden and carry them to a run in the main garden. A snuggle a day keeps the doctor at bay... that way all the hens can see them and get used to them. 

I tend to feed all the chickens beside the little run where Mum and Archie reside and occasionally I open the door and, keeping a watchful eye out for cats, I let Archie attempt to eat with the others. Usually this results in him getting a huge pecking before he cries and I let him back into the run. (Sometimes I give him a cuddle first.)

Today Mummy took this feeding opportunity to dump the kid, so to speak. To be fair she's been holed up with him as egg and chick since the middle of September, a stir-crazy madness every mother must recognise.......

Anyhoo, as she blended in with the crowd of tobacco coloured hens and rooster I realised I had a BIG problem. She has a twin sister, another white hen so similarly marked that I cannot tell them apart. I used to be able to tell them apart: Long ago Snow White injured herself and I sprayed her chest with the purple antiseptic and henceforth we called her Snow Pink. Whitey has always been just Whitey. However since the great moult of 2010, Snow Pink has reverted back to Snow White, so I can't tell them apart.

Bum!

I briefly thought I knew which was which and indeed I managed to catch said hen and put her in with Archie... but suddenly I didn't think she sounded right, that she wasn't making Mummy noises I recognised, so I whipped her out again. Bum!

I have now sprayed one chicken purple again so that when I eventually do tell one from the other, I will easily be able to tell them apart at a glance....... Does that sentence even make sense? ...... In the meantime however, Archie cries at the bars for his mum.... it's awful. But for the cats and the fact that you just can't make chickens wear nappies, I'd bring him inside with me...

Maybe I just need to find some 3 month old, outdoor raised chickens to form a baby gang inside the run... Oh the guilt, guilt, guilt, I should never have let them out because the snow's due back soon and Archie really isn't big enough to keep himself warm...

The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon