Chicken Bedtime

Just like children, birds need routine. Not so much that life is boring; just enough that they feel comfortable that their grownups can be counted on to take care of them.

With my cockatiels, our bedtime routine was to give them dinner, then half covers (just like it sounds, we put their cage cover on halfway), then after a half hour, full covers, and finally, lights out.

With the hens, as dusk falls, you can see them getting their last munch of food and final drink of water and they will put themselves to bed, waiting for Oscar or me to close the coop door.

It’s all very serene and civilized.

Putting the chicks to bed, on the other hand, is just like putting nine toddlers to bed. Even when they follow the hens to the coop and start to settle in, when one of us comes to close the door, the chaos begins. First Chrissy will run out squeaking, “Hi Friend! Is it time to play?” No matter how fast you scoop her up and get to the coop end of the run, one or two others will run out to join the fun. As you toss one chick into the coop, another will run out. Finally, some nights miraculously, everyone is in the coop at one time and you can shut the door. When you stop to check that no toes will be squished in the door, however, at least one is standing there looking crushed that they have to stay inside.

“Night, night, chickies. Sleep tight.”

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