cochin coaching

Amelia Earhart, Hildegard Von Bingen and Eileen Gray are finally here and getting settled into their coop. Now that there are real birds in residence, there are things I need to do to make the coop better for them. A wider roost, a window inside the run (I'm still worried about human intervention), and a stronger pull up for the coop door: the skinny string that was used by the coop builder makes the door more akin to a guillotine than anything else. But more interesting is what i need to do with the birds.. 

Being creatures of habit, and coming from a coop at ground level, these ladies have been learning how to use a ramp. At first, I had to carry them into the coop but we have made enough progress that now I merely need to guide their fluffy chicken butts up the ramp each night. They fuss and complain until they are inside, but less so each evening. The same proved true when I tried to get them to try out their roosting pole. No doing. But once they were placed on it, pure calm followed. Getting them to leave the run and try out the outside enclosure involved some tomato and greens and a tiny bit of cracked corn. These girls were raised deep in the country with three sisters and a roo and now they live as a flock of three in a city duplex. It's noisy here and it is never completely dark. But they are adjusting a bit each day. They are beginning to find their gentle flock sounds, the "everything is alright here" song they will imprint on me and mark our days together so well that I will immediately know when something isn't right. There is an element of management on their part and an element of trust too.

As Amelia, Hildy and Eileen find their way in their new home, I am reminded once more that our animals offer us lots of lessons. They push us to think about how well we respond to change, how we learn new things, who helps us and how. And they remind us that all of us sound a certain way when we are safe and when we're not and we must  imprint the difference on those we trust most.