The Move (by night)
October 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
We moved the girls into their new home sooner than we had expected. But when the movers left us in our new home on the Tuesday afternoon, we’d already put the Summer Palace up in its new position in the new orchard. It was about an hour before sunset, so we had just enough time to drive to the old place and collect the girls as they were going to bed. It’s a good idea to do anything stressful like this after dark, as chooks’ poor night vision means that they’re likely to just hunker down where you put them, rather than flap and panic so much. So off we went.
To keep them out of harm’s way during the move, we’d shifted the girls back into the Loft-style Apartment in the old orchard, and they were indeed just headed up the ramp to bed as we arrived. We originally thought we’d have to put three girls in one cage and four in another (Frida – in her cat cage – was already installed in the new house). The logistics took a bit of thinking through – we had the dog crate in the back of the borrowed CRV, which was big enough (we thought) for four, maybe five girls. Then there was the old blue crate that we’d taken to various chook-purchasing sessions – big enough for two big girls, maybe four small girls. On the one hand you wanted to make the best possible use of the space, as leaving someone behind would be extremely stressful. But we had to be aware of the potential for bullying, and in a confined space that’s something that could get nasty very quickly. Neroli might bully Lily; Ella and Venus bully Neroli. Maybe Claire would have another go at Bessie, and heaven knows she was enough of a tyrant at bedtimes to have a go at everyone else too … We decided that the safest would be to keep them in the groups they’d been sleeping in – Poppy with Ella and Venus, Lily and Neroli with Claire and Bessie. We’d try to make sure Neroli and Claire were on the outsides, with Bessie between Neroli and Lily. But in which crate?
In the end, when we set the dog crate up in the back of the vehicle, we wondered if they might all have room in there together … and (to cut along story to an appropriate length – ) they did! So it was two people, a crate full of chickens and a lap warmed by boxes of takeaway curry, driving through country roads in mid Canterbury, just as the moon came up over the plains. There are definitely worse ways of coming home for the first time.
We unloaded everyone by a combination of moonlight, reflected headlights (couldn’t point the vehicle in a useful direction) and good night vision. They all seemed happy enough – a bit puzzled, but not at all distressed, or even worried.
Come the morning, we went down to the new chookrun and let them have their first look around their new home. They’d dug the dustbath within half an hour, and the first egg was laid at 10.30 – a 58g egg from … Claire.
It was now official – we’d gotten the flock out of the city!