What do I always say in my chicken workshops? You can’t have only one bird. Chickens are flock creatures; they need to be with others. One bird is not a flock. You need at least 3 birds for the chickens to form a flock and not be stressed.
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
In a spectacular example of “Do as I say, not as I do,” this past weekend I brought home one solitary chick. (Oh but what a chick!) Violet is by herself and I don’t have any plans on getting other chicks for a while.
A chick needs to be socialized, she needs to know that there are flock members around. This is why I placed her tub in the walkway to the kitchen (the most used room in a household of 6 kids.) No one can pass the chick without calling out to her or wishing her a good day.
I’ve also encouraged the kids to play and handle her as much as possible (Emma had to wait until she was over her cold.) I want Violet to get used to people. She’s played with before school, after school, and sometimes (sometimes) when I’m on a long muted conference call.
But I also want her to get used to animals.
Here is our dog; Pippin meeting Violet for the first time.
And here is Pippin trying to get to know Violet better.
FYI – Pippin is *never* allowed near the chick without supervision. I’m not sure he wants to eat the chick as much as play with her, but still, we’re not going to take any chances.
This weekend was mild enough to let the chickens out and spend some time in the yard raking. Pippin joined us too but soon tired of the activity and left the raking to go back into the house.
“There’s a chicken following Pippin into the house,” Marc said.
I looked and sure enough, Charlie – although being in the coop all winter – followed Pippin right into the kitchen as if she were the boss of the place.
She heard Violet’s peeping and went over to see what all the fuss was about.
Enough with the youngster, Charlie must have thought, because she then proceeded to go over to the dog and water bowl to get her fill.
For those of you who followed Charlie’s story when she was living in our house, you’ll know that she quickly abandoned the chicken feeders and instead ate from Pippin’s bowls. Along with sleeping with Pippin, I swear that Charlie, for a while there, actually thought she was a dog.
Charlie eventually rejoined the rest of the flock in the yard and Violet, not knowing any different peeped loudly for one of us to pick her up and play.
Drawing by: Lauren Scheuer
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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