Monday, May 16, 2016

Buffy St. Marie, aka our new chicken

Yes, we're up to five now.  Chickens that is.

Doug, the local bread bakery owner, lost two of his girls to we-don't-know-what-but-it-might-have-been-a-hawk-or-a-fox within a week and didn't want to keep the third girl locked up, miserable but safe.  So, he asked if I wanted another hen.  OK, I said.

Never having introduced a stranger to the flock, I consulted with my chicken mentor and she suggested placing the newbie in a cage within the coop.  The regulars could see her, smell her, talk to her, but not get into any tussles.  Aha!  I'm acquainted with that technique with equines, so it all made sense. Rick said, why not the dog kennel we're not using -- brilliant! -- nice and big.

Buffy arrived Saturday afternoon and stayed in the dog kennel until this morning, Monday.  As I opened the kennel door to get her food and water bowls (now on the top of the cage), she escaped. She wanted no part of that darn kennel anymore.

(I thought Sweet Pea was my linebacker, but Buffy now gets the title, She's a big-un.)

Anyway, when she escaped the kennel and ran out into the donkey yard, where the rest of the girls were, Golda charged her a few times but then seemed to settle.  I chastised Golda each time, and I know you won't believe me, but she stopped.

The hens was confined to the coop and pen until this afternoon when everyone was released for free-range time,
Ruby and Buffy fraternized for a bit.

However, when I went out later to pull the donks in from the pasture and gather the girls back into the chicken pen, Buffy was in the coop on top of the dog kennel.  I guess that's her safe spot for the time being.  So we don't have integration yet, but I'm hoping in a couple of days, she'll get the lay of the land and feel more comfortable.

By-the-by, she was already named Buffy and we decided her full name as Buffy St. Marie fit better with Ruby Dee and Emmy Lou than Buffy the Vampire Killer.  Don't you agree...  


  1. Hi Janet. I can't believe the timing of your latest post and latest addition to your chicken family. On Saturday I had to have my eldest hen put to sleep. She had been poorly but was treated by the vet and she seemed to pick up. Unfortunately she went down hill again and I had to make the hard decision to put her to sleep. So now I am left with Just Mary and as I know they are not happy on their own, I am looking to get two younger girls to keep her company (not that she'll see it that way initially!!). I hate integrating the chickens, I find it very stressful but I know that it is a process that they have to go through to determine the pecking order. I hope your integration goes well for you. I think one of the key factors is to give them as much space as possible so that they can get out of each others way. Unfortunately I do not have as much room as you, but I will be able to partition their run off to begin with to keep them separate. I am looking forward to getting my new girls, but also dreading these introductions. Good luck to you and I've got a feeling I will need some good luck too!! Kind regards, Louise S, Cheshire UK.

    1. Oh Louise, I wish we could compare notes. I've never done this before and it sounds like you have. This is their third day together and I don't notice any outright aggressive behavior (mostly some posturing) but I notice when the four are in area A, Buffy hangs out in area B. There's no integration. But I know its early...

  2. Hi Janet, I think that they are doing very well indeed for their first couple of days together. It can take two to three weeks before they properly settle down and integrate. I have only done this once before by introducing a young hen to one of my older remaining hens. The older hen pecked the youngsters head when she got in the way, but never drew any blood. As long as they do not draw blood and are not too aggressive, I think they are best getting on with it and getting the "pecking order" over and done with. I must admit it is not nice to see and it is stressful. They will be fine, given time. By the way, I love the idea of the dog kennel. I am going to steal this idea from you and buy one (cheaper than another coop)as I hope to get my two new girls over this coming weekend. Thanks for the idea. If things get too hairy I can always lock them in there (for safety). Here's hoping for a peaceful integration for us both. Regards, Louise.