Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Introducing New Chickens, Ay-Yi-Yi

In the past week I have vehemently made two "note to self" vows.
1.  Never have knee replacement in the winter
2.  Never introduce new chickens in the winter

As you might guess, things are not going well.
Three new girls are still in the dog kennel except when we're monitoring.  Our four enjoy taking turns bullying, with Ruby Dee the most aggressive.  Perhaps it's because she's next to the bottom of the pecking order and now she's reveling in being able to bully someone else.  Who knows what goes in the minds of those chickens!

Sweet Pea (on the right) tells Lily Marlena and Peggy Sue that she's in charge

Yes, we do have names.  Friend JC2 helped pick out "Peggy Sue" and I instantly knew it was a keeper.  Lulu, the black austrolorp, hides out in the cage in the background.

But I now have a plan.  In a couple of days the daily temps are to reach 38 degrees with no precip.  When I leave the area at my mid-day rounds, I'll leave the coop door open into the barn, close the barn gate so donks can't access the coop, and leave everyone to their own devices for an hour.  They're just going to have to duke it out.  That's the plan for two consecutive days (cross your fingers the weather lives up to the forecast).  Then we'll remove the dog kennel and see what happens.

Amazingly one of the new girls laid an egg, quite soon for hens this young.

  It's the one on the bottom.  Not terribly small.

In comparison the donkeys' care is a piece of cake right now, thank goodness.

Sugar (oh wait, is that Spice) asks if I brought out any cookies
When I say no, she asked if I am quite quite sure


  1. Love your little donkeys and the chickens seem to have some human traits with their bullying.

  2. Hang on in there Janet. These chickens, although wonderful creatures, can be very nasty to new comers. I have been told that it takes about 3 weeks for them to settle, so still early days for them. I must say that I find integration very stressful and it's not nice to see the bullying that can go on. I think your plan is a good one and as long as there is no blood drawn they need to bash it out together. When they have got it and their places in the pecking order are established, everyone will be fine. We probably worry about it more than the girls, because as you say, who knows what goes on in those tiny minds. The donkeys all look well and Sugar and Spice seem to have settled in a treat. Good luck.

    1. Louise, thanks for the encouragement -- I need it!!

      I'm used to seeing horses figure out the hierarchy, and am usually comfortable with the temporary bullying, but not the chickens.