Thursday, November 1, 2007

Chick-Chuck Update

Chick-Chuck is doing OK. It's not been easy, however.

After Tuesday's terrors, I thought that the flock was accepting Chick-Chuck as it did while Mama Hen was around. Wednesday afternoon I discovered that they were attempting to eliminate her from the coop, pecking at her and chasing her until she found a hiding place under an ancient manger.

We are lucky in that the chicken pen is L shaped with a division between the legs. I herded the hens into the larger of the two sides, and left Chick-Chuck with one calm Black Australorp hen in the smaller side. Finally peace returned to the hen house.

My plan is to gradually introduce other hens, one at a time, until a good percentage have accepted Chick-Chuck's presence. This evening I added a yellow hen (seen above). I am afraid that CC's first thought was "Mama!" because she ran right over, then looked the hen in the eye and took a step back. Still they were able to scratch next to each other without fireworks.

Hen-keeping is not for the faint of heart.

4 comments:

Cindee said...

I saw your post on the farm forum so thought I would say hi here too. I love chickens. The Buffs are my favorite. We have had so many hard times with our chickens until we put up the electric fence wire. That stopped all the terrorizing. Now everyone is safe and happy. I went to let the girls out today and when I reached down to turn over the water pan a chicken was under it! I can't imagine how that happened. All I can think of is that she stepped on the edge of the pan and it flipped over on top her her and locked her under it. Poor thing. So now I just have to worry about the girls hurting themselves. lol

Johanna said...

I got the materials for the electric fencing this evening at the TSC (the guy was really helpful, so I don't mind plugging them!). Probably won't be able to install it until Monday, however.

I'm so glad to hear that electric fixed your predator problem, Cindee! Very hopeful it will work here, too.

Melissa said...

Do chicken flocks have an "alpha hen?" I know I've heard that if you have multiple cats, if you introduce a new cat to the alpha first, that the other ones will do whatever he/she does. Maybe that would work for Chick-Chuck. Or will you just have to wait until he/she is big enough to fight back?

Johanna said...

The notion of "pecking order" comes from chickens! Yes, indeed, there is a very strict hierarchy among flocks. That's another reason I put Chick-Chuck with a few hens -- so that they could establish an order among themselves, helping CC to get the concept and to have a sense of where she fits in. I am not certain at the moment which of the hens is the top girl -- there's been some challenging going on, which seems to happen whenever there are changes or traumas to the flock. Between Chick-Chuck hatching, the black hen sitting eggs that are about to hatch, and Mama Hen being murdered, this flock has had plenty shaking up lately.