Who knew that there was such a thing as chicken drama? Well let me tell you, we’ve been playing chicken switch for several days now to try and help squelch the drama. This chicken here, these there, whose going to try to take over as head hen? It’s just been amazing. Up until now, our flocks have been relatively calm and basically trouble free. Well, ok – at the very beginning when we had way too many roosters in the original coop, there was some stress. Once we processed those guys, there was immediate calm in the flock. It was amazing. But, lately, whew – we’ve had some trouble.
It all started when a Church/REALTOR® friend of ours had to get rid of some of his chickens. He had 4 Sexlinks and 4 Easter Eggers and they were just eating each other up. One of them was attacked by everyone and this guy said it was a complete blood bath. Then they kept picking on each other, pulling out feathers, drawing blood, until he was sure there was going to to be another bloodbath. He asked if we would take the Sixlinks and see if a bit of free ranging would keep them off each other. We said, sure. We thought there may be some stressors causing them to pick on each other and maybe by moving four of them, they’d behave better. Well, three of them slowly grew their feathers back, but one Nudie Booty, just never seemed to get any better – actually worse. We even added a rooster (Vicente) in with them to see if he could give them enough attention to keep them from picking on each other. They calmed down a little and even more feathers grew back. Nudie Booty – still nude.
Then a couple weeks ago, he called again – this time, his wife – who works for the Army – was being transferred to Georgia and they needed to re-home the remaining hens. We said, sure. We picked them up and added them back in with their previous “friends”. There were a few days of getting back together and managing the pecking order – we thought it was all going ok. Then, one night when I was shutting them in, I noticed that Nudie Booty was picking on the newcomers and chasing them all over. We decided to remove her for a while, take her out of the pecking order and give her time to grow her feathers back. That’s her, up there. Sad, isn’t it. After she was removed, the next evening, I saw that one of the newcomers was bleeding from a peck on her back. That’s a bad sign, because when they see blood, they can just all gang up on that one; we didn’t want a bloodbath here. I also noticed that Vicente has had some feathers pulled from his feet. We decided to remove the one Sexlink who had taken over as Top Chick. She’s generally the one that runs everyone else around anyway. We thought that maybe that would let things settle down. We put her in a crate, separate from Nudie. The next day – there was still drama. So we tried to remove all the new hens and put them in the RCW, figuring that they would be on the bottom of the order and they wouldn’t have time to pick on each other. We were only able to capture two. They went in with the layers. They seem to be doing ok. Back in the Sexlink arena – another one started to chase the others around again and Sue was afraid that they were also still bothering Vicente – he was bleeding in the morning – so, this is what we did. We moved the last dominate Sexlink in with the previous one, leaving only two with Vicente – one Sexlink and one Egger. Still drama. Sue saw the Sexlink and Vicente chasing the Egger around. What now? Vicente is such a sweet little rooster, we don’t want him to learn bad ways from a handful of bad hens!
I think this is going to be my proposal. We move them all in to the RCW with the Layers; we need a rooster in there anyway, but we leave Nudie so she can grow her feathers back – which may take some time. If they don’t settle down, we’ll have to cull them, because we can’t have murderous chickens in the flock. In the mean time, we put the little new chickens in the newly vacated tractor until they are bigger. Then some of them can go in with the Layers, the little Roosters we can move elsewhere, maybe one with the Layers, one with the Oldies – who knows. We can put Vicente in with the new Banty hens, so we don’t have any inbreeding going on. Then we move the 2nd batch of Banties in to the Goat Shed Coop. Hard to keep these things all straight. Kinda like playing chess with live little chickens as the pieces. What will happen? I don’t know. I’m still trying to keep up with the last week! When we figure it out, I’ll share it with you. Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!
Today’s Weather: Warmer, I felt. No real rain to speak of. The high was 86°. Currently, at 8:17 p.m., it is 70° with 67% humidity. Overnight low is looking like 63°. Sunrise was at 5:58, and sunset at 6:36.
Egg Report: Tuesday – zero goose, zero duck, 28 chicken. Wednesday – zero goose, zero duck, 20 chicken.
Cool Thing: Caught our neighbor, Mike, chatting with the ducks. He stopped, as he rode by on his little Moped, to exchange a few quacks. I really found that quite funny. He passed me with a big grin on his face. Ducks: bringing a bit of frivolity to the neighborhood. 🙂