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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Alarm Clocks

It appears that when we decided to get chickens, we also brought two alarm clocks.

Who said that you need a cockerel to wake you (and the neighbours) up in the morning. Since we have been back from France we have been woken at 8am on the dot every single day without fail. They seem to think that if they are up, there is no reason why they should be shut in their house. Or their run for that matter. And boy, you know about it if they don't get their own way! Last night we tried leaving the house door open so they could let themselves into the run to get to their food and water... instead of being greatful they decided that the rest of the garden looked far too tidy so started squawking to come out at 7.40am instead! Now this could really be an issue as occasionally we leave them a night or two whilst were away and allow them to roam to and from the house (I can see all chicken keepers reading this screaming at their screens as leaving the pophole open tends to be a no go in the chicken world... they aren't dead yet). Although our neighbours have been amazing so far in putting up with their vocal displays, I am sure 7.40am on a Sunday wont wash for long.

My theory is that they have learnt (through positive reinforcement - eh eh!) that squawking every morning  gets them let out into the garden and then they reward us my shutting up. But my this time the damage is done, were wide awake, grumpy and needing coffee.

And then came the eureka moment. If they learnt before they can learn again! As I write this we have two very dismayed chickens still sat in their run trying to fathom out why we are up but refusing to let them out! And the bonus is they are quiet! Ok ok, they haven't been consistently quiet but every time they try their luck we open the door, stare at them until they mute, then shut it again! I feel that they have been FAR too spoilt by being allowed out so early so from now on at 9.30am every morning they shall be allowed out of their run, NOT a minute earlier! And they will learn that squarking gets them NOWHERE! The idea is that eventually they will just be happy in their run until such time as we let them out. It's not like its too small or insufficient for them. They are like children, give them an inch and they take a mile.

Ages ago I was listening to Scott Mills and they were messing about with a 'sleep app' of some sort for your phone. The idea is that it detects noise and records it during the night while you sleep so if your a sleep talker you know what sort of things you say! Now as far as I am aware I don't sleep talk but I was thinking it would be an excellent way of know how naughty the chickens are when were not here! I think that actually they don't squawk for that long but how do you know when were here stopping them (and as we learnt this morning it is incredibly difficult to ignore them completely)! I recently changed my phone and still have my old one so maybe when were away this weekend well give it a go and see what we get!

And you know what, if they really don't pipe down despite our (not so) elaborate plan, maybe they will end up as Chicken Kiev's!!

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