Penthouse Dweller

Molly living upstairs

Molly moving upstairs

Molly has moved into the penthouse of the big coop. Kind of.

The integration of the flock initiated on 14 August is going well. Penny is top dog, then Henny, followed by Holly. Molly is the bottom because she’s sickly but Polly is naturally a bottom-of-the-pecking-order hen so they both generally keep an eye out for the other hens. Lenny, of course, rules the roost. He still maintains order but it’s not such a big deal. The little hens are mindful and quick and the big hens only pick on them sometimes and never for long. A sign of this harmonious living is that now all 5 hens lay in the same box (see my post about hens sharing nest boxes to know this isn’t an easy feat).

Somewhere along the way, Molly got tired of being picked (or, should I say, “pecked”) on – sometimes and never for long – and took refuge on the roof of the big coop. I think the main problem was that, since she’s sickly, she sleeps a lot and soundly. She has always napped away most of the day – I can walk in and fill a feeder right next to her without waking her. Since the integration I have seen her naps disturbed by quick pecks (her old roomies just left her in peace). She has taken matters into her own hands and moved into the penthouse. She spends most (? or does it just seem that way?) of the day on the roof of the coop.

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She’s up there so much that we’ve taken to putting food and good weeds and whatever else we throw into the run on the roof as well so she doesn’t feel left out. If she’s not sleeping too soundly, she watches me when I come into the run, but rarely joins the others in the dash for the door.

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She stands and waits to see what I’ll give her. With an eye only partly opened. One of the side affects of whatever ails her is trouble keeping her eyes open. She rubs them on her wings a lot too. Is it a tumour? Light sensitivity? Tiredness? Whatever it is, we keep giving her yogurt in a mash with her pellets every morning. The others get some as well but I always put a big plop on the roof of the coop just for Molly.

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She’s spending so much time up there that she’s decided to sleep up there. I’m sure her sleep wasn’t bothered by the big girls since they sleep in the big coop and she and the little girls stay down in the small coop, but I reckon she’s just learned to love her penthouse. Which worried me. What does she do if it rains at night? Isn’t it cold up there all alone? So I moved a little box up there for her to sleep in.

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Molly continues to spend more and more time on the roof (though I do see her down scratching around often). The other hens, sometimes Lenny too, occasionally pop by for a visit. They never stay long, but I guess they like the penthouse concept as well!

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About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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9 Responses to Penthouse Dweller

  1. shadowlilies says:

    She definitely likes being aloof, doesn’t she? Love the little box on top for her to sleep in!

    • It’s making me crazy. I have gone out a few times at night since I put the box up and she’s never gone inside. It’s the box they used to lay in so it shouldn’t seem foreign, but she sleeps nestled right next to it. Maybe she likes star gazing. At least it’s there if she wants it. We haven’t had a heavy rain since she’s relocated to her penthouse so maybe she’ll rethink things if she gets soaked. Silly animal.

  2. vuchickens says:

    So funny! I’m glad she has a place to relax and call her own. You must not have to worry about birds of prey there?

    • Well,… we do have hawks. Lenny, our rooster, makes quite the commotion when one sits in the pecan trees over the chicken run. So far no hawk has landed in the run (that I’ve seen). I’m thinking Lenny is scary, chickens are big and we have heaps of mice, rats and smaller birds for them to eat. It’s just not worth going after the chickens. Long may it remain so!

  3. What a clever wee chicken. I wish I had a penthouse to call my own. 🙂

    • I hope she is clever. This morning, for the first time, there was poop inside her little apartment. Every other night she’s slept outside on the roof but it did rain yesterday which may have driven her under cover. I hope she’s smart enough to start sleeping under cover every night. I know I’ll sleep better if she does.

  4. Molly looks like a smart hen to me 🙂

    • Yeah, I think she’s smart too. I still feel sad when I watch her though. She is just not a healthy chicken. But is she happy? Who am I to judge. I think she’s reasonably comfortable and she is very active whenever we bring treats to the run (at least twice a day) so she’s alert and strong enough for that.

      I now put “porridge” on the roof in 2 spots every morning. Molly jumps up (if she’s not already there) and gobbles in peace. I put it in 2 spots because Holly figured out that easy treats can be had in the penthouse. I may need to add a 3rd spot because Polly is catching on. But Polly is generally too buys eating the porridge on the ground in the run to pester Molly until most of Molly’s private stash is gone into her gullet. Luckily Polly is not as smart as Molly!

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