The young 'ens are fully feathered and are fully integrated with the two surviving "adult" chickens. But I'm just not sure about these silly birds.
They've been outside in the pen for what, a month now? 6 weeks? Long enough that they should know how it all works.
We open the door in the morning, they all go out and forage, scratch, and explore throughout the day. When it starts to get dark, it's time to go back in the door and sleep the night away.
So why am I still having to herd them back into the chicken house every night?
Every night, there are at least 10 birds who have to be caught and tossed back inside. Some of them no longer run from me, they patiently wait for me to scold them, pick them up, and set them inside. It's like they are simply too lazy to just go in themselves.
I'd suggest that they are pretty smart, after all, I carry them to the pen and set them inside, no work on their part. But, remember, "Smart Chicken" is an oxymoron...
Last night, Andy actually put them away. It was about 8, and fully dark. He said they were all sitting on the deck, right by the door, like they were waiting for him to toss them inside. I went out to see if he needed any help, he didn't. We assumed that all were present and accounted for--after all, it was dark, chilly, and they usually huddle together for warmth. You know, that "birds of a feather flock together" thing...
But, this morning, there were three young women outside, scratching and enjoying the sunrise. I have no idea where they were last night. I'm assuming they were the 3 that we usually have to chase around and around and under the chicken house most nights. They "out smarted" us...or something.
I've talked to the "adults", and have told them that they need to keep explaining how things work, how when it gets dark, you go inside where it's safe, and warm. Where the food and water are. They aren't being good parents or good role models.
I'm going to have to think on this. I need to figure out some way to educate these critters. I'm open to ideas...anyone?