Saturday, January 14, 2012

I can safely say, no one is happy right now

I knew today would be a big day and I had been both looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time.  Today, I moved the babies who are 6 1/2 weeks old of the garage and into the big girls run.

I let the big girls out into the garden which is something they love.  So I knew they'd be distracted for quite some time.  I broke down the fencing of the brooder and moved everything into the outside run and set it all back up.  I then brought the babies out to the run and turned them loose. This was their first time with this much freedom and their first time in the dirt so they were having a blast.  And I was enjoying the moment of peace and harmony while everyone was happy.

And then it happened.  Coco realized that the gate to their run was closed.  I never lock them out of their run.  And she started to scream.  Which got Ginger's attention and the two of them came up to the closed gate and saw the baby chicks in their run and went ballistic.  I've never heard those two make so much noise.  I was frankly, horrified.  So I ushered the babies into their brooder pen and opened the big gate so the girls come come back in.

But that did nothing to quiet them down.  They were not at all happy about their new guests and the modifications to THEIR run.

And before I realized what was happening, Spice, who is the leader of the babies, rushed up to the fence and puffed up her chest at Coco to inform her that she was in charge of this three-some.  At which point, Coco stuck her head through the fence and BAM!  Nailed Spice on the head to inform her that she was the Alpha of anyone and everyone in these parts.

Okay, good.  Got that out of the way.

Well, all 5 of them whined and cried and whined for what seemed like hours.  I stayed close by to make sure that nothing crazy went wrong.  But I could clearly see from Coco's posture that given half a chance, she'd kill each and every one of those intruders.  ACK!!!

Coco is trying to figure out how to get inside the chicks brooder.
She's convinced they have better food in there and desperately wants to sample it.

But I'm glad I did it.  It was time to get the babies out of the garage and sooner or later, they were all going to have to get to know one another.

I'll bring the babies back into the garage for another week or two as the temperatures have been dipping into the low 30's at night.  The garage stays around 50.  And then we'll see about having them actually spend the night in their brooder outside.

It's going to be weeks before I let the 5 of them co-mingle.  The babies need to at least double if not triple in size up to about 3 lbs before I'll even consider letting them all get together.

And another shot of the babies in their brooder with Coco inspecting them closely.
That blurry blob in the foreground on the left is Ginger who desperately wants to be in the shot.
And is also convinced that my camera is food.


  1. It's so hard to integrate new chickens in with the old... whether they are young or old. We did it this summer and it was awful for a while..if you read my blog I tell about the story a bit. our rooster really had it out for one of our new hens and chased her mercilessly around the pen and would attack her given ever chance. We finally made a pen inside the pen for her.. and she stayed there for weeks during the day but roosted with all of them at night.. finally we were able to let her out and for a couple of days it was rough but now she's as good as new. We integrated four... to two old hens and a rooster and I'm hoping we don't have to do it anytime again soon!

  2. Oh My!! I'll email you in the am :(

  3. Yes, we'll do this very slowly. This is why I'm starting now. I figure at LEAST two weeks of seeing but not being able to get to each other will be good. And then we'll take it from there. Need to see how big my babies are by then. And then we'll do some time together with me being right there. But sooner or later, they had to learn that Coco was the alpha so we just got that over with today.