Lesson 516 – That Chicken, Charlie

That chicken, Charlie!

I think we’re heading toward trouble with Charlie, more specifically, I think *I”m* heading toward trouble.

I’m having a little difficulty even thinking about letting Charlie join the flock (and remember, I’m the one who holds Chicken workshops and who counsels everyone to let nature take it’s place when putting chickens together and the pecking starts.) This weekend, we introduced Charlie to the outside birds and she was pecked so horribly that I had to rescue her and bring a trembling little bird back into the house.

Now when I open the backdoor, Charlie runs as far away as possible.

As Charlie gets bigger, she gets bolder. No longer content to stay captive in our den, (for the longest time, she wouldn’t step outside of the room, leary of the terracotta tiles in our foyer) she now roams the entire first level of our house (older house, with wood floors.) It’s not unusual to see her scampering around the kitchen or living room, wood doesn’t allow much traction and her method of stopping forward motion is usually just to skid to a stop.

She’s also getting more socialized with the kids, I’m constantly hearing things like “Move over Charlie, I want to sit down” or “That’s a good girl, Charlie.”

Yesterday, as I was walking through the living room, I saw Charlie and Pippin sleeping together. Charlie had her neck stretched across Pippin’s back. Those two are buddies who play together and once she discovered it, now also drink out of the same water bowl. (which makes life for a house chicken much easier because she is so big that she tended to tip over the chick sized waterer.)

Pippin sleeping with Charlie

It’s a good thing having a chicken in the house, I tell Marc. The fact that she’s so close to Pippin means that she’ll be eating all ticks he brings in. Heck, she might even finally get on top of our annual black ant invasions.

Marc just kind of shakes his head and walks away (although I did catch him the other night watching a movie on the Kindle with a chicken on his knee.)

Pippin is our watch-dog for when people approach the house but Charlie is quickly becoming our watch-chicken inside the house. I can always tell when the kids are on the first floor by Charlie’s little chirrings. She’s a child locater of the best kind. She’s a doll, a treat, but when you come down to it, she is a chicken.

Charlie perching near me while I read.

In a world filled with far too much sadness, sickness, tight budgets, and umbrella-wielding gunman, what’s wrong with taking in a little bird and protecting her from those big, bad bullies out in the world? I see nothing but goodness at the idea of having a chicken in the house.

Marc, on the other hand, begs to differ. And this is where the trouble lies.

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14 Comments

Filed under Backyard Chickens, Charlie, chicken care, Chicks

14 responses to “Lesson 516 – That Chicken, Charlie

  1. Oh Wennnndy…… I see a boooooook……

  2. Stephan

    Ha! The old “do as I say and don’t do as I do” :-) :-) :-)
    Very recently when I intriduced my two new white Brahmas you suggested “Pecking order – there is no getting around it. It’s what happens in a flock. The more you try to prolong it, the more it gets prolonged. Put them all together, things will settle down.
    However, if you notice that some of the new birds are not being allowed to get food or water (we’ve had this happen in our flock) then you need to take those hens out and give them access to food and water away from the rest of the flock. Sometimes, hens can die from starvation if the pecking behavior is severe”
    From my experince I began monitoring a bit because my other hens were indeed preventing tohe new ones from getting closer to food, so I alternated the times they could roam freem in the coop area (where there is food) while keeping the other ones inside the coop (hatch losed). next step was leave them all in the pen area with no place to hide and let them fend for themsleves all under “supervision” and there was much improvement on the “tolerance” side. Next step was to let the news ones roam free in the backyard where they hung around outside the pen fenced area, which worked well to. After a f=week on iong this, we have reasonable harmony in the flock. The new one go outise the coop when I open the hatch in the morning and they have access to food without much quarrels.

    Back to you Wendy! :-) I think if you expose Charlie to the other ones under some form of protection and do this gradually it may help get the other ones used to her presence.
    Bonne chance!

    • Wendy Thomas

      I know, I know, I know (boy do I know) but you see, the problem lies in the fact that I kind of like having a chicken in the house. She’s not much trouble and makes us laugh everytime we see her.

      I just found directions on how to house train a chicken and I think that that’s where we’re heading for now.

      Stephan, feel free to tell me “I told you so” if this whole adventure blows up. :-)

      Wendy

  3. Hey sis–yep, it certainly does look like you have a chicken in the house–who might not know she is a chicken. I wonder if the Raptor Center in Minnesota raptor@umn.edu, fax is 612-624-8740 and phone is 612-624-4745 has any advice for you? They commonly take raptors who are injured, shot, poisoned, broken wing etc. nurse them back, and then reintroduce them to the wild–or not. They seem to know how to make the call. They might have some helpful procedures for reintroducing a bird to bird world. It’s not an easy thing to do.

    • Wendy Thomas

      Oh I have the knowledge on how to do this (just ask Stephan), just not the will at this point.

      Is it so wrong for a mama hen to keep just one at home? :-)

      Wendy

  4. I am holding my sides laughing. You are nuts. This has to go into a book so I hope you are busy writing yours. You are getting close to E.B. White territory with the dog and the chicken. I assume you have read Charlotte’s Web? It is charming though.

    • Wendy Thomas

      Kathleen,

      E. B. White is my great-uncle, I grew up surrounded with stories of talking animals and their fantastic adventures. Perhaps that is why I don’t think this is so odd?

      Wendy

  5. Stephan

    As you asked, “I told you so” :-) If I had to take sides I’d go with your husband … I perhaps try the “keep them close-and yet apart” approach by putting Charlie close to them but with a fence barrier in between so they can start by getting acclimatized and then slowly get them to be used to each other.
    Another point I’d want to bring out is actually part of animal nature, happens in dogs, cats and wild animals but not sure chicken do this. Animals sense there is something “wrong” or unnatural with another of the same kind and they tend to attack them. I wonder if this is the case given the fact that Charlie had issues with feet, etc.

  6. Hi Wendy, Sage advice from a woman who has never owned chickens — but I do have a practical husband, and three children, and two dogs. So I am used to problem-solving and mothering the world. I’d tell you that you will never regret making a decision based on kindness.

    I’d figure out how to keep Charlie safe and happy, and if that means she becomes part of the indoor family, then so be it. (A book would be your well-deserved bonus for doing the right thing.)

    And, if this doesn’t work out, then…heck. I’ll apply to adopt her! Happy to take a road trip north!

    p.s. if EB White is indeed your great-uncle, then I am both impressed and envious. He is my hero, and I did my junior thesis on his writing. I quote him frequently in my blogs. And, from the little I know of him, he would absolutely keep Charlie close b y.

  7. Oh my, I understand the injured chicken part. I have indeed removed a hen from the flock to care for her. But I must say it never occurred to me to bring her in the house! The garage has an area that we call the hen hospital and there’s an outside enclosure for the same. So I have to ask… is your little feathered friend pooping all over the house??

    • Wendy Thomas

      Well she is somewhat contained in an area that is tiled but yes, there definitely is a problem with the pooping. This weekend, I’ll try the clicker training (just picked one up) and will see how it goes.

      Wendy

  8. I am with Amy. I LOVE EB White. I read is essays to cheer myself up. Lucky you to have known him. What else don’t I know? JK Rowling is not your other sister is she?

    • Wendy Thomas

      Kathleen,

      You made me spit out my iced tea with this one! No, JK is NOT my other sister – she was simply my maid of honor at the wedding. :-)

      I’m kidding, I’m kidding but E.B. White’s animal stories belong firmly in our family.

      Wendy

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