Released from Protective Custody

Jul 19, 2017 | 1 comment

An Open Gate

Farmer Nyel thought it was time.  Yesterday it had been exactly a month since he had fenced off an area of the chicken coop for the two new girls.  Although they were feathered out and, presumably, ready to be introduced to our established flock of four, he had decided to err on the side of caution.  Better to let them see and talk to one another first without full access.

Curious Alpha Hen

He didn’t want a repeat of the fighting that occurred the last time he added to his flock.  In that case, one chicken was killed – we think by the alpha hen.  She’s still head-of-the-coop and still aggressive toward anyone and anything new.  Farmer Nyel was definitely wary.

So, up went the chicken wire barrier and the broody box was refurbished to become a temporary coop for the newcomers – closed off from the main coop and run, but giving plenty of opportunities for getting acquainted.  Safely.  They could see one another and talk to one another – even touch through the sizeable holes in the chicken wire.  But they were seriously separated… just in case.

A Flurry of Feathers

Farmer Nyel opened wide the gate between the two areas yesterday.  He sat for several hours (at two different intervals) on an upturned bucket, dispensing scratch and encouraging commingling.  The old girls were curious; the young ones, cautious.  The newbies are Dominiques – black and white speckled hens – and are said to be America’s first chicken breed.  I don’t think our older girls – one Russian Orloff, one Americana and two Red Stars — give one cluck about that.   For them, it’s all about who was in Farmer Nyel’s coop first; they could care less about Colonial America or the chicken equivalent of the DAR.

Commingling Begins

It took most of the day, but finally there seemed to be progress.  The bravest Dominque came forward and, predictably, Alpha Orloff rapidly approached, neck outstretched aggressively.  Dominque skittered away in a flurry of feathers and outstretched wings and that seemed to be that.  She soon was pecking for grubs alongside the others, perhaps a bit warily but with enough confidence that the other Dominique (D-II?) soon sallied forth.

Farmer Nyel visited with them for another hour late in the day but left them to their own devices when it came to roosting time.  He’s on his way to the coop shortly to see if détente lasted through the night.  As I often say, you never can tell with chickens.

1 Comment

  1. Jo Lucas

    Thanks for the chuckle! I love stories about the “girls”.


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