The girls are definitely divided into two groups at the moment. The bigger girls spend time perching together while the little girls gather on the patio area for spinach, apple or to get to the food dish in peace.
The bigger girls perch together
While the little girls gather round the food dish
While the cats away the mice will play! The little girls make the most of the treats on the patio while the bigger girls chill out together.
When I throw out the corn or sunflower hearts as a treat, I now throw some into the run where the bigger girls are used to having it, while I casually drop some onto the patio. The little girls have got used to the routine and get to have their share on the patio without being chased away by the other girls.
And back to the bedtime routine again. Today I went out at quarter to six to see why the little girls aren’t perching by themselves. All the bigger girls were settled except Peaches and Barley who were still out in the run. They are often last to go in.
As usual the little girls ran to me as if asking me to put them in. I put them through the pop hole and blocked it with my hand to stop them coming out again. I opened the door a crack to see what was happening. Pebbles jumped up to their perch. Rusty was next to jump up to their perch. Freckles made several attempts but kept over shooting and dropping down behind the perch.
Pebbles and Rusty jumped to the perch
Last night we put it down to there not being enough light. Tonight I realised Freckles can’t physically get on to the perch. This is obviously what is holding up the bedtime routine. In her frustration she tried to jump onto the bigger girls perch. Enough of this, I lifted her on to the perch and the three little girls settled together.
I put Freckles on the perch
Peaches and Barley went in and took their place and all was settled in the shed. So now I know what the problem is, we can fix it. I am not sure if it’s because both Pebbles and Rusty have silkie feathers and Freckles has straight feathers, or if it’s just something else peculiar to Freckles, but she just doesn’t seem able to accurately jump to this perch.
Tomorrow we will reinstate the smaller perch behind this one so that there is a double perch like the bigger girl’s back perches. You can see from the photo above that there is plenty of room for another perch behind this one.
Last night’s photo showing the back perch
We will recreate the double back perch for the little girls. This will give a bigger area for Freckles to aim at and instead of falling through the gap she may be able to land on the back perch.
We put the double perches in for the bigger girls to allow passing room when they are jostling for their bedtime positions but this should also help Freckles to be able to get onto their perch.
Sometimes we need to keep observing to be able to work out what the problem is. We thought it was a case of the little girls learning the routine but it seems it was a case of Freckles not being able to manage to get to the perch. So the fine tuning goes on and tomorrow we will see if the new perch arrangement helps to sort out the bedtime routine at last.