Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sweet 16

The 2nd Street Chicken Ranch is celebrating a Sweet 16 this weekend! Our "chicks" are 16 weeks today and will be moving to the main coop with Helen and Madge.  

After a month of informal "meet and greets" on the lawn, everyone is ready (well, ready or not) to live together.  There is no doubt in anyone's pea-sized brain as to who the ruler of the roost is: Madam Helen; and her Sargent-Major, Madge, makes darn certain that the underlings tow the line.  Such is the way of the pecking order.
Combining flocks is perhaps the most stressful event the urban chicken farmer and the flock will undertake.  I speak from experience. Given last summer's introduction of Madge, and the now departed, Midge, I hoped for a better way. 

The meet and greet concept worked really well for the current flock configuration and here is why:     

  • First and foremost it was neutral territory and not in anyone's coop.
  • We are introduced four young birds to two adults (unlike last summer's situation with two adult birds going in with five adult birds). While the youngsters tested the pecking order, they became subservient very quickly.
  • The older birds couldn't "attack" everyone at once (unlike last year's five against two). In fact, age may have mellowed the older girls -- there has been little blatant attacks on the youngsters. Usually just a glare or raised hackles is all it takes to clear the way for the older girls.
We'll do one more lawn party today and then everyone will retire to the main coop. We're not going the route of "combining flocks in the cloak of darkness;" which is a highly recommended method of introducing new chickens to existing flocks, simply because these girls have already mixed and mingled and have lived next to each other for the last 3 months.
The temporary condo coop in will stay put for a few more days, just in case a serious case of bullying breaks out and someone needs to go in "time-out."  
It is amazing how fast the last 4 months have gone by.  It seems like just yesterday we had four fuzzy, yellow chicks.  And just think, in another four short weeks, we should be getting our first eggs.  My, my how fast they grow up and leave the nest.    

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Thanks for reading and sharing your comments! Candace

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