Yesterday we got two new additions to our flock. Two young Marans, one – a Black Copper, the other a Blue Splash. We got them from a woman who had an existing flock and when these two were recently introduced realized that they were “mean girls” who disrupted the vibe of the flock.
We’ve had some mean chickens before and so I completely understand how upsetting this can be, especially if you’ve got a younger flock that is still trying to establish itself.
This woman had taken the Chicken workshop I teach in town and knew that I had been looking for more Marans (our ex-house chicken Charlie is a Marans and I *adore* that bird – I’m pretty much always looking for Marans.)
The kids and I set up a portable pen for the new girls and kept them out in the yard while the rest of the flock free-ranged. Occasionally, I’d see one of my girls approach the pen with her hackles up, ready to challenge. This, of course, was met with equal bravado from the new girls. No one was going to challenge each other and get away with it.
Uh, oh, as the mother of 6 who knows how to recognize bickering before it even gets started, I knew I had my work cut out for me.
Because we still have littles, who need to be protected from any aggressive adults, my plan was to move the temporary pen into the coop at night in order to keep the Marans separate from the rest of the flock. I wanted them to have more time to get used to each other before we put them all together.
Apparently my kids had a different idea. Marc and I both had events to go to last night and when we returned around 10, I asked Marc if the chickens had been put away. He didn’t know so I went outside to check. Not only had my kids put the chickens away, but the new birds had been freely incorporated into the coop.
All for one and one for all – it works for the musketeers, not so much when you have mean girls. Uh-oh.
Using my flashlight I shone a light into the coop and found both Marans quietly roosting next to the rest of the girls. They looked up, blinked, and then settled down again.
This morning when Addy and I released the flock, all the girls came out of the coop, civil as can be. I kept my eyes on the Marans – as they walked by Zelda, she reached out and delicately pecked them each on their butts just to remind them of their place in the flock. The Marans quickly scooted away.
I turned to Addy, “Move along people, there’s nothing to worry about here.”
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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