We are having a welcome, late summer, warm and sunny spell. Amber has decided to stay out with the other girls after a few nights of going in the coop. I don’t worry as I know as soon as it gets cool again the girls will go in the coop. Last year they started going in themselves in September and continued to do so until the heat wave this summer.
As the nights are drawing in I have been getting them all in by half past eight when the automatic coop door shuts. As they are going in earlier and it will continue to get earlier and earlier, I am enjoying and making the most of, spending time with them before bedtime. I love this time when they mill around me, top up on food and water, have a last scratch in the garden area and finally jostle for the best positions to roost.
I decided to photograph their bedtime line up. I took lots of photos in quick succession and these pictures cover the fifteen minutes before they were settled.
It seems that Bluebell must go to the little chair first to stake it out as her favoured position. Here she is showing off her magnificent comb.
Pepper jumps from the coop roof to the store cabinet and Bluebell jumps to the cabinet to join her.
I love this expression on Peppers face. I have seen it many times and find it benevolent and quizzical at the same time. She does a lot of neck twisting and looks quite comical.
Honey jumps on to the store cabinet and Pepper makes it quite clear that she is not allowed to join her on the perch, the little girls must be shown their place.
As Bluebell has returned to the patio, Honey takes the opportunity to take possession of the little chair.
Pepper has returned to the high perch. I was taking Dotty’s photo just as Bluebell jumped across to the little chair, giving Honey no option but to jump off. I had wondered how Bluebell always ends up there despite Honey settling there before her. Dotty then jumped across to the high perch to join Pepper.
Bluebell leans out to Amber to show her that she is not to try to get on the little chair.
The pecking order is very clear in their bedtime routine. Pepper is top hen followed closely by Dotty and they get the most prestigious position on the high perch. Bluebell is next with the next best spot on the little chair and Amber and Honey are at the bottom of the pecking order with their position on the store cabinet.
I put all the girls into the coop after dusk as the door is closing or just after it has closed. I prop it open while I put them in. I sometimes peek in through the nest box with a torch to see where they settle. The big girls have always favoured the bottom perch on the opposite side to the nest box and when I look in this is always where they are. The little girls are always on the top perch on the side with the nest box. It seems that inside the coop the little girls still have a separate place to the big girls. I find the bedtime routine quite fascinating.