A BIG DAY

Yesterday was a big day for the class of 2012!  After weeks of grueling preparations and pen repairs, the White Series pens are finally completed. This will allow us to spend more time socializing them outside of training sessions — the final step before their big flight to Wisconsin.  All seven of the remaining candidates for the ultralight project were all walked out to the White Series pens yesterday.  Chicks 4-12 through 7-12 were in one pen, 10-12 through 12-12 were in the pen next door.  Sadly, the invitation was not extended to 9-12 as she was cut from the program earlier this week due to bad behavior.  With any luck, she’ll have a better grip on her temper by the time she’s shipped off to Louisiana.

Since this is a mellow bunch of birds, we figured we had nothing to worry about and I’m happy to say that we didn’t.  Both groups of birds interacted with each other wonderfully with no signs of aggression or any one bird getting picked on.  Of course, these birds have been walked and trained together for several days now, so it’d be a bigger surprise if one of them all of a sudden decided to get in touch with their inner psychopath.

Unfortunately, by the time I arrived on the scene, some adult birds in the adjacent Silver Series started alarm calling. It was enough to send shivers down the spines of the three younger birds, so they had to be taken in around noon.  A few of the four older birds were a little anxious, but did their level best to go about their business.

Number 4-12, the big brother of the bunch, never lost his cool.  All through the afternoon, he was off on his own, grubbing or hitting the feeders like he’d been the in the White Series every day of his life.  He didn’t interact much with the other birds but quickly established his spot in the pecking order and since he’s one of the older, bigger birds, it’s only natural he does.

Same goes for 5-12.  He and 7-12 had a few stare-downs, all of which ended in 5-12’s favor.  Like 4-12, he adapted pretty well to the White Series but unlike 4-12, he’d rather bond with the costume than forage on his own.  He was one of my more frequent visitors while I was out in the pen spending time with them. It wasn’t unusual to see him toying with my sleeves or tugging on any loose ends he could find.

Chick 6-12 wasn’t quite in her element this afternoon.  While I’d be exaggerating if I said she was a basket case, she did pace the fence more than any of the others. Plus, she never quite stopped peeping after the adults alarm called but she wasn’t so petrified that she didn’t grub around or take a swim or two in the footbath.  Seeing her sit down in that black plastic tub and flap around in the water made my afternoon and to help take her mind off her worries, I led her and the other three birds on a walk around the pen.  She started grubbing and bathing right after we were done.

Number 7-12, our other little sister, seemed a bit antsy too but not as much as #6-12 was.  I’m suspecting it was because she had a security blanket out in the pen with her… Me.  She and 5-12 did their best to make sure I wasn’t feeling lonely. It’s always funny to see their big, wide curious eyes staring into my visor just before they take a few curious jabs at it, hoping to make sense of the mystery that is the costume.  Unfortunately for her, she has sort of inherited the bottom of the pecking order.  I’m afraid 4-12 and 5-12 insisted.  But I’m sure that’ll change once we bring the 10-12 and 12-12 crowd into the picture.  Then again #12-12 has a bit of Napoleon and spark to her that should not be underestimated. Just ask #10-12.

We don’t know who the other bird we’re going to have to cut will be.  A week ago, I would’ve said it was 6-12.  I was worried that with her dwindling attention span and her non-interest in the costume, she and OM would have to part ways come the 22nd.  She has since changed her tune and is much better at following and responding to the costume. Every bit as well as some of our older birds so she isn’t out of the game just yet.  We won’t make our final cut until it gets closer to shipping day.  Until then, I’m hoping #6-12 keeps up the good work and earns her seat/crate to Wisconsin.

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Chick #7-12 (left) and #5-12

Chicks 4-12 through 7-12 spend time in one of the large outdoor white series pens.

Chicks 4-12 through 7-12 spend time in one of the large outdoor white series pens.

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