Monday, December 29, 2008

Teaching Old Birds New Tricks

It wasn't necessary, but I just had to do a Google search today to find out the origins of the phrase "bird brain". As much as I love my girls, they have sorely tested my patience getting accustomed to their new spacious coop this last week. At first I locked them in with food and water for three days. Fortunately, the weather was bitter cold with icy precipitation. Perfect for hunkering down. They were warm, dry and well fed. One the third day I opened the coop to let them roam around outside for just a few hours before dusk, so they wouldn't 'forget' where they were to return....or so I assumed. In fact, they all returned to their old coop and put themselves to bed there instead. After dark, we moved them, one by one, back up into the new coop and closed the door. Another two days locked in with food water and special treats of fruit and sunflower seeds (their favorites) should surely lock this memory into place. Yesterday we made the decision to move that old coop completely out of view to prevent a repeat of the after-dark carry over. Believe it or not, at dusk, every one of those hens still went back to the old location- the phantom coop. Could they still 'see' it and 'feel' it even though it wasn't there? It was disturbing...well, okay, sorta comical, but also incredibly frustrating. "Bird Brain" came to mind, along with a few more eloquent descriptive names that I won't publish. We bribed them up the ramp with treats, chased them around in the mud and even snagged a few with pretty ungraceful moves. We cheered when they got it and went up the ramp and through the tiny door...cried 'fowl' when they changed their minds and backed out again. The MAN and I gave each other an out of breath high five when the last one was safely tucked in for the night...whew. I held my breath again tonight when dusk came and I saw them from the kitchen window scrambling around. I had a thought that a rooster may have helped here. You know, follow the big leader? These girls were all looking to each other for leadership and couldn't make up their minds who should have the position! They finally all made it in tonight except for one forlorn hen who felt the most direct route was through the closed window. She was so pooped out trying to fly through the windows that by the time I walked out there, she had no steam left. I simply picked her up and put her to bed. Good grief. Oh, and the Google search? A chicken's brain is the size of a child's fingernail....yep, no doubt about that...

7 comments:

Clare said...

Oh Sue, how funny... well, and frustrating! I hope the girls "get it" really soon!!

Aunt Jenny said...

They should be ashamed not being all proud to move right into that new beautiful coop!! Seriously though..my hens must have 1/2 the normal chicken brain size!! They have shown me that time and time again.

kansasrose said...

I can just visualize you and the man chasing the girls back to their new digs. Maybe paint a hunky rooster on the door of the new coop?

Ellen said...

happy new year!
may the chickie pie with the power reap more love, peace, hope and joy!

Ellen said...

are you out chasing the birds?

fly eagles fly!

Susan said...

haha ellen! No chasing now. The old birds have finally figured it out. As for the other philly birds...I'll get excited when it comes down to the super bowl game.

Ellen said...

so you aren't growing a playoff beard ;)= those are my little chin hairs :o

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