It's worked very well, it really has - but only at breakfast time and only with one chicken. Mad Irene remembers the first time I encouraged the chickens to use the smoking shelter, using exactly this crafty technique. So now she always hurtles out of the coop, grabs a quick mouthful of pellets at the entrance and eats her way in. Then she'll realise that she's on her own and rush out again. That's because she constantly worries that one of the others will have something that would be much better in her beak. What if someone's found a worm? How will she know if she's stuck down in the shelter? She can't bear the idea that she might be missing the opportunity to steal something nice from one of the others.
|Irene needs the apple that Tu-Tu has made off with|
It's obvious that some members of the flock pop into the shelter for a quick snack, because there's never anything left by lunchtime. But they always wait until I've gone indoors before they sneak in. However, I take comfort from the fact that, little by little, they are getting used to going inside.
A few days ago the weather was absolutely horrible. The wind roared down the valley like a steam train going full pelt, and it rained on and off all day. I read lots of horror stories about people's chicken coops being blown over, with chickens inside. Our chicken coop stayed resolutely upright and didn't move an inch. Just as well really, since every single one of my daft chickens had gathered in the cage beneath it.
The smoking shelter gives far more protection from the wind than ever the cage does. So why, why, why don't they use it? Answers on a postcard please.