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This morning brought both welcome and unwelcome surprises. The welcome surprise were the first of our eggs, of which there were two. The unwelcome surprise was that the chickens did not lay them in the lovingly crafted* nest boxes that my amazing co-pilot installed this past weekend.

No, my darling girls apparently chose to lay their very first eggs on the trapdoor that leads out of the coop, which meant that when I opened it, the eggs fell down into the run. The two-foot-high run. The two-foot-high run that I was not going to crawl into after the egg that rolled almost all the way down to the other end. (I ended up easing it onto the blade of a shovel and dragging it gently out of the run. It still ended up with a cracked shell. I don’t know if it happened due to the shovel or if it happened when it fell into the run.)

So now I’m about to start studying up on ways to get chickens to lay eggs in nest boxes. I knew there would be a learning curve with all of this. I just never thought the chickens would be on that curve with me.

*translation: slapped together out of scrap wood and adding that final and oh-so special touch of scavenger chic to my post-apocalyptic looking chicken coop.

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So today’s lesson is that just when you think things will never go 100% your way, you’re probably right.  After a fairly craptastic day yesterday (which doesn’t even bear talking about.   I mean, there are people in the world who would love to have the problems I had yesterday because theirs are so much worse — but still.  Yesterday was annoying.) I was getting ready to throw my hands up and give in.

But today, things were looking up.  Five of the six hens actually deigned to come out of their coop and were looking pretty happy.   All in all, a good thing.  Until you ask what about the sixth hen?  Well, she seems to be injured.  We’re not totally sure what all is wrong, or how it happened.  But injured she is, and I don’t know what to do.   The upside, however, is that the husband actually got today off (I was braced for him working 14 hour days every day until he leaves for another month) and is doing his best to make the injured chicken comfortable.  I hope she’ll be okay.

So hopefully tomorrow, the chickens will come back down…all six of them.

Why does so much of my life involve wheedling?  “Please eat your dinner, girls” and “Please come out of your coop, girls” are things I say repeatedly day after day after day after day, albeit to two different groups of girls.   What’s funny is the first group, the young humans, absolutely jump at any chance to get out of their “coop” (this winter, since we actually had one, has all of us with a massive case of cabin fever) but refuse to eat.  The second group, the young hens, on the other hand, eat all before them, but won’t set a foot outside their coop.   (Except for yesterday, when one of the Golden Laced Wyandottes actually flew out the upper door of the coop and into the yard.   Good thing the husband was home to help with the capture, and the dogs were in the house.)

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could split the difference?

Since I can’t, today I tried setting a sliced apple on the trap door to the run.  The plan was that they would peck at the apple (a favorite of both groups of girls), and when it fell down, the chickens would go after them, and discover what a lovely run they had.  At first, the Newton maneuver seemed to be working.  The Delawares (the boldest of the lot) came down, and started on the apples.  After they fell, however, they simply went back up into their coop.

What’s a girl got to do to get chickens to eat some bugs?

So after all the complaining (from the chicks, that is) about their close quarters, you’d think they would’ve been chomping at the bit to get out and into their plush new digs. That’s what I thought, at least. The reality, however, is that when their “brooder” was put into the living area of the chicken tractor, its door left open, five of the chicks cowered at the back, refusing to come out.

The sixth, one of my door chargers, proceeded to get stuck halfway down the ramp into the tractor portion, cheeping pathetically until I got her back into the living area. (I guess I have the treads too far apart for their comfort.  Which begs the question:  will this coop ever be done?) So with Door Charger 1 reinstalled in the coop, I closed the trap door for the time being (as in, until I can figure out how to add more treads without actually having access to the door because the chicks are in there and if I open up the roof while they’re in there they might fly out and then a dog could get them and aaaaggghh.   No, the coop will never be done.)

What happened to the other three door chargers, though?   I mean, I understand there’s a reason that “chicken” is synonymous with “fearful”, but c’mon already!  Don’t they realize their great great great etc grandmother was a dinosaur?   Gotta love my agoraphobic rex chickens.

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