Mister Chicken’s setup in the barn is a smallish coop with run, surrounded by old deck railing panels to make a larger fence. I didn’t have any illusions that the fence could contain Mister Chicken (I’ve seen him sit on top of it, and he’s small enough that he could probably squeeze through the slats), but he seemed to like the boundary and never ventured outside of it. Until this weekend!
We had nice weather on Saturday, so I let the hens out of their coop and left the door to the barn open, so they could go visit Mister Chicken. Charlie headed straight for the barn and then came back out a few minutes later — followed, after a bit, by Mister Chicken! Just strolling down the path toward the house. I knew he had a good sense of where his home was, so I wasn’t worried about his being on the loose, although I didn’t know how he and the hens would interact without a fence between them. Well, it turns out everybody gets along just fine. I think the hens would have a fit if he tried to go in their coop, but they were all content to hang out with him during the day. And when he gets cold or hungry, he just walks himself right back to his own coop.
The thing that amuses me the most is the way Mister Chicken wants to lead his new flock, and the fact that the hens have absolutely no time for that. You can tell sometimes that he’s trying to convince them to follow him here or there, but they just do what they want — they’re independent ladies! He’ll go back to his home and then crow for them (here’s a little clip!), and I’ve had to explain to him that if he wants to see the girls, he’s going to have to go to them. I’m pretty sure he’s an ‘older’ rooster, and he has the look of having had to defend himself from other roosters (as well as the dog who plucked his tail), so I’m sure he’s quite happy to be the only guy with ‘his’ new ladies — whether or not they care!