Figured out that the silkies may not be so obstinate after all… sometimes you have to observe things for a while to see that it’s actually your fault and not the chicken’s.
And by you, I mean me…
I’ve watched their nightly routine a few times now, and it goes like this:
All the other chickens start roosting about 4:30 pm. We have two boards, they all cram themselves onto the top one.
Norman makes what I refer to as ‘irritated rooster noise’, and he walks around the coop to make sure everyone (but the ducks) are put away. The ducks ARE obstinate. Once he’s satisfied that his species are in the coop, he and Ninja do the nasty right there in front of the wall we made out of windows.
After that he flies up to the overhang. Once he’s in place, Ninja flies on top of the metal water ‘fountain’ and then up to the overhang to snuggle up to him.
Tonight Ninja was the only silkie on the overhang, which was a change in the routine. The poor girl is shivering every time I pick her up so I know she’s cold… Norman was inside the coop – how exciting! – but he was perched awkwardly on a cross brace under the roosting boards.
That’s when it came to me.
I already knew Silkies can’t fly very well. Their feathers aren’t pinned down like other chickens, which is what makes them poofy and cute… but not very aerodynamic. So they can’t reach the nesting box where I keep putting them because it’s higher than the overhang. Not by much, but apparently by enough. And there was nothing for Ninja to hop onto.
In the interim, I’ve moved the water fountain by the nesting box to see if that helps. As cold as it is out there I can’t use it again until summer so I may as well put it to good use. And the next coop project will be to make a couple of little shelves that they can use to get up to the roosting boards.
Problem solved… I think.
Which is good, because on Tuesday I’m picking up two more silkie hens, and I’m trying to imagine wrangling four silkies at the same time.