Tuesday, April 11, 2017

She beat me

Tipping the scales at 4 lbs, 13 ounce and probably more feathers than muscle, she beat me.  With a brain the size of a pea, she beat me.  And with a beak she isn't afraid to use, she beat me.

Who beat me you ask?  Well, her name is Bella.  She's a darling little Partridge Cochin who makes me crazy more often than not.

I always thought Cochins were adorable but worried about keeping their feathered feet clean.  But when I went to the feed store last April to get more Buff Orpingtons and heard they had Cochins, well, I had to have a few.  So Bella and a Black Cochin we named Penny came home with us.

Turns out, keeping their feet clean was the least of my problems with this little one.
I knew the Cochins would likely be the bottom of the pecking order but the BO's are typically pretty mellow so I thought this would be okay.  And while it was clear pretty early on that they Cochins were indeed the bottom of the pecking order, there wasn't too much pecking.

Bella is totally food obsessed and constantly comes up to peck at us on the patio and see if we have treats.
I'm fortunate that I have two coops in my run.  A big one and a little one.  So I trained the Cochins to sleep in the little coop.  Everyone else slept in the big coop.  And eggs were equally laid in both coops.  But it all worked out.

Look at that darling face.  And those beautiful feathers.  What's not to love about this bird? 
Then a few months ago, I noticed that Bella had decided to sleep in with the big girls.  My initial concern was that Penny was all by herself.  But it doesn't get cold where I live and Penny seemed fine with is so I let it go.

I finally had to fence in my flower pots to keep her out.
But what I didn't realize, was that Bella was getting pecked mercilessly by the big hens who didn't want her in their coop.  It was awful to listen to.  So I set out to retrain Bella to sleep in the little coop with Penny.

For the first few nights, I plucked her out of the big coop and put her into the little coop.  Then I stood at the big coop pop door and let the big hens in but closed the door when Bella came around.  I tried to guide her over to the little coop but she wasn't having it.

One night, I sprinkled raisins on the roost in the little coop thinking if she discovered treats on her pillow, she'd be more encouraged to go sleep there.  Sadly, that was the one night that Penny decided to go to bed early and I heard her eat every last one of those raisins before I could get Bella in there.

Another night, I got all the big hens put up to bed and closed off the big coop pop door and went back in to watch Bella on the monitor.  She ran back and forth and desperately wanted back into the big coop.

Bella has the most amazing feathers and I love the way her feathers on her feet drag on the patio when she comes to visit.
So after a week of standing outside in the cold, wind and rain, and trying to get Bella to see that sleeping in the little coop is much more desirable, last night, I just gave up.  I had a rotten Monday and was exhausted and I just decided if she wants to get pecked and is up for that kind of abuse, then let her have it.  I've showed her an alternate option.  It's now her choice.

She bee lined into the big coop when I finally opened the pop door.  I didn't hear too much scuffling as it was already quite dark and the big girls had mostly settled down for the night.  This morning, there were about 6 brown fluffy feathers on the floor of the coop.  Did the big girls pull those out?  Or did Bella shed them naturally?  I don't know because I don't have a monitor inside my coop.

I'll pop out at bedtime tonight to listen and hear what goes on.  But I'm done trying to change Bella's mind about where to sleep at night.  She won fair and square and that's the end of that game.



  1. They are determined little critters and once they make their minds up about something it's very difficult to change it. Yesterday I had three of the bigger girls and two of the little girls all wanting to lay their egg at the same time and in the same nest box despite the one next door being empty. They were making such an awful din about it that a few times I went up and split them up them, moving one or two girls to the nest box next door. The next outburst of noise I would go and check only to find them all squashed in one box again. I too gave up and left them to it.

  2. Don't they make you just crazy?!? Last night, she was getting pecked in the coop like I suspected. She eventually came out, and went over to the little coop. I was ready to claim success and delete my posting. But this morning, there was only one dropping pile under the roost. So she must have gone back at some point. Grrrrr......

  3. Maybe she has the sense to wait until it is all calm before going back in.You do wonder why she can't just go with the easiest option but who knows what goes on in their little chicken brains.

  4. Last night she went in late and got a quite spot in the corner next to Peaches and Peaches won't peck her. So maybe she's figuring this all out.