The time has come. The weather has turned to the more reasonable temperatures of spring and Violet finally has enough feathers to get her through the cool (but not cold) nights. We have been putting Violet out in a “playpen” (a children’s moveable pen that I had gotten at a yard sale) while the rest of the flock was outside during the day, but we were always careful to keep her separated from any interaction with the rest of the flock.
The hens were curious but there was no aggressive behavior toward her. A good sign, I thought.
Today is the day we incorporate Violet into the flock. This will be done in a series of steps. The first step will be to put her entire cage in the hen house for a few days. This will ensure she is protected while everyone gets to know her during the night and day.
After the girls have gotten a chance to know how it is to live with her in their midst, we will let Violet mingle with the flock (while being supervised) to make sure that no one in particular picks too much on her. It’s a bit tricky because Violet is the only chick being introduced and there is the high probability that everyone will be tempted to put her in her place. I’ve seen the damage that excessive pecking can do, and let’s just say it’s not a pretty sight.
But our Violet is quite hardy and I’m sure she’ll pull her own weight. I’m also kind of hoping that Charlie will lend a hand toward her protection. The two of them have been together in the past (in the living room) and Charlie has shown no desire to peck at Violet – perhaps at some level they might recognize that they are sisters? This mama hen can only hope.
This is the procedure we used to introduce our Guineas to the flock when we first got them and after a few days of shooing the bossier of the hens away from the new arrivals, things settled down just fine.
I’m hoping that it will be just as non-eventful with Violet.
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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