Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Big Girls & Flock Integration

My little feathered ladies aren't so little anymore. And my gosh, are they gorgeous birds! Doesn't Athena look very regal?

In this shot, LeLu is up front and inquisitive as ever, followed by the ever standoffish Barney, and a few tail feathers of the the blonde one of the bunch, Athena. They are definitely in their teens as pullets, but are showing some signs of calming down and leading normal chicken lives.

Over the last few weeks, I've slowly tried to integrate the two flocks (Starbuck seen above from the mature flock). For any chicken owners out there, you know how tricky this can be. Funny as it sounds, there truly is a pecking order within the lives of chickens. At the moment, Starbuck's near-twin Ramona is at the top chicken in the older flock. I don't think the younger ladies quite know much about this chicken hierarchy yet, but they are sure curious!

I admit, I have a sweet spot for this little lady. LeLu (one of the sci-fi named birds) is the sweetest little thing. She let's me carry her around, coo to her, and is the most calm of the pullets. Notice her tiny little crow developing? Yes, I'm becoming that crazy chicken lady (if I wasn't before).

Barney is definitely a wild bird in spirit. She never wants to be held, touched, petted, or have someone come too close to her. Her feathers are finally all coming in, and becoming so dark she is taking on a greenish-hue in the blackest areas (very pretty).

As of now, I have the newer flock's chicken tractor parked in the fenced in area where the older ladies roam. This has allowed the two flocks to observe each other through the safety of the chicken wire that keeps the pullets in their tractor.

Every few days, I let the two groups out together to graze, positioning myself in between the flocks to diffuse any tension. Ramona, being on the top rung, inevitably goes after one of the pullets to show her dominance, however every time we do this exercise it takes her a little longer to show aggression (a good sign). Once the pullets grow a wee bit more, likely another week or two, I will attempt the full on integration. Stay tuned because it will likely involve a few ruffled feathers!

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