Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Chickens and rabbits
The hens are now laying at full capacity - a great relief, as Craig, who sold us the chickens, has been warning us that no good will come of the unnatural set up we have created.
Last Easter Zoe got a lion head rabbit called Cuddles (pictured above on an escape mission to eat the salad in the tunnel) and a guineapig. They were happy together until the guineapig died over the winter and we were stuck with a mumpy pining rabbit.
When we made the chicken run we decided to put cuddles in there to test it for escape routes and to give him a bit more freedom. When the chickens arrived the next week we thought that it would do no harm to let Cuddles stay and see whether hens and rabbits can live together.
Well . . .they can - but now Cuddles is convinced that he is a chicken, or more to the point - a cockerell. He has 5 hen girlfriends - to whom he is VERY attentive - he scratches for food and this week has taken up dustbathing. He seems to be happy, the hens seem to be happy - they just walk off when he becomes too 'active'
The only downside so far is that he has bitten off some of the hens' feathers in a preening session. This seems to have stopped - no more feathers in the hen house - but the hens look a bit tawdry.
Craig is still sucking his teeth. I think he regrets selling his hens into such an unnatural chicken run. Very appropriate for Easter though.