We all have our nighttime rituals. Most of us wash our faces and brush our teeth. Some fall asleep while watching TV. Others find a final escape in a good book or pillow talk before drifting off to dreamland. Chickens are no different. They too have bedtime rituals.
It all starts at dusk, with the ever so entertaining, who gets to go into the coop first. If the Silkies are broody, they are all set. They are all ready hiding in the nesting boxes. They do not have to fear the wrath of the bigger girls, jockeying for their favorite places on the roosts. It always seems that Dolly and Fifi are the last to sneak in under the cover of almost complete darkness. Goodness knows that if they try to sneak in too early, after a few squawks, they are shooed back out into the run to wait a bit longer. Finally, once everyone is inside, Tilly always pops out for a quick look to be sure her entire flock is secure for the night. Sometimes she come completely out into the run for surveillance and other times, she pokes her head out of the coop door.
Most of them have a snack and drink right before bed. They take sips from the waterer and they peck at the pellets in the feeder. For chickens, these snacks are essential in forming perfect eggs as they sleep in the night. Once content, they find a place on the roost.
Just as we have our own bedrooms and beds, the girls have a roosting order. The Silkies prefer to sleep in the nesting boxes, most likely because they are broody all the time. It seems like every evening, I scoop them up and place their drowsy bodies onto the available roost. Last night was no different.
I opened up the coop's nesting box lid and found a Silkie in each box. Dolly was snuggled in next to Oyster Cracker on the roost closest to her Silkie sisters. One by one, I scooped up three growling Silkies and gently placed them on a roost all in a row. Then, it happened. Dolly hopped off the roost and began to walk around the coop in the darkness. Guided by the light of the moon, she took a few bites of food and joined her Silkie sisters on their roost. As I watched my four sweet Silkies, they gently wriggled their bodies side to side moving and squeezing in wing to wing. I watched as they nestled down to cover their toes with feathers and fluff. Apparently, not only is snuggling universal but who you wish to snuggle with is universal too.