I’ve been fully embracing my role as caretaker for my chickens. Since we’ve declared this first round as pets, I’m really enjoying them. Some days I wish I was able to spend more time out there with them but as the new Editor in Chief of Scratch Mommy, running and creating content for Naturally Loriel and all of my other duties outside of the computer-zone, I just don’t have enough time to really sit and be with them.
Since I’m borderline crazy chicken lady and have been learning about chicken breeds, I’ve been searching for a specific kind of chicken for a while now – a barred rock. Apparently these ladies are so friendly and are great egg-layers. I’ve been stalking facebook groups and asking around but was having a hard time finding that breed.
Until I just so happened to catch a new thread in a chicken Facebook group I was in. The lady’s daughter was needing her two chickens to be removed ASAP and one of them was a barred rock! I jumped on that like flies on chicken… ahem.
The lady said the chickens were about 3 ½ months which was good because my original flock are all around 4 ½ months. Being a first time chicken owner, I had absolutely no idea how much a month of age can make a difference in size. So, thinking they weren’t going to be small, I went ahead and made the 45 minute drive to pick the new ladies up.
I know you always hear that size doesn’t matter, but with chickens, it does. Chickens are very territorial and once their flock is established (including the pecking order), it’s hard to bring in outsiders. Especially little outsiders.
And that’s just what the new chickens were. Little. Like, still have the chirping of chicks instead of the bakawing of pullets.
If the little ones are not welcomed, they could be literally pecked to death. Can you imagine witnessing that? I’d be horrified.
I decided to carry the little ladies out to the run in the cat crate they were transported in. Tension was high for me. I had absolutely no idea what to expect.
For sake of saying the word original a million times, I’m going to call our original flock of ladies the OG’s. Hehe.
Anyway, the OG’s were happy to see me, clucking and bawking, but the moment I set the cat crate down and the little ones made a chirping nose, time froze for about 15 seconds.
All 6 of the OG’s froze in their place and did not move a single tail feather. It was like a wild wild west scene up in the Adams’ Coop. If I wasn’t so freaked out about what could possibly happen, I would have been giggling my brains out watching the whole scene unfold.
Every time the little ladies made a noise, the OG’s would move about an inch and freeze. After about a minute, I opened up the crate door, and let them out. I held my breath as the little ones froze and the OG’s froze. They looked so small compared to the OG’s.
In all respect to Mother Nature and how things naturally unfold, I stepped back and let them all get familiar. I told myself I wouldn’t intervene. After the stare down, the pecking began. I felt so bad for the little ones! They would run behind me for protection or jump into my lap. All of a sudden my sweet OG’s were a gang of territorial OG’s that were not sure about the newcomers.
The OG’s wouldn’t let the little ladies get water or food and would bully them so my mother instinct kicked in and then I became Mother Hen. Did I ever picture myself as a Mother Hen? Absolutely not. I actually laughed at myself while I was out there defending the little ones from the OGs and pointing my finger to my Australorp and telling her no.
I got the little ladies about 4 weeks ago and just now is the pecking starting to slow down. I’m not sure if they have been accepted into the OG flock but slowly, I can see it happening. They all sleep in the coop together and it seems they are more welcoming of them.
I’m hoping in the next few weeks they can all mingle together and I won’t have to worry, but until then, I am Mother Hen. To learn more about chickens, check this book out.
Have you ever brought new ladies into the flock? How was the transition? I’d love to hear your stories!