Thought I would share some pics and a dedicate a blog post to these spoiled rotten chickens I keep going on about.
Khloe will always have a special place in my heart. She was the first little baby chick I had ever held, seen, or had the responsibility of taking care of. I was given her as a gift after her brothers and sisters had hatched and their mama had to run off to take care of them. She was the last to hatch in the nest and was rescued by her previous owner. And well, knowing what a sap I am, she was given to me. So, she’s been with me from the moment she was dry enough to come out of incubator she was kept in to keep her warm.
A couple of weeks later, I received Kim and Kourtney and 2 siblings. They were just little peanuts too – about a week old. They were also a rescue. Seems their mama went a little nuts and was trying to kill all her chicks – she’d already killed 3. They came along at the right time, because Khloe seemed very lonely in the brooder all by herself. I was hoping to keep the 2 siblings, but, alas, they turned out to be roosters. I named them Buster and Brutus and found them a very good home. Sadly, we can’t have a rooster where we live, let alone two.
2 months later, I acquired sweet little Molly. (See January posts for her story).
She’s an Ameraucana mix. Very shy and a bit of a scaredy chicken. When she was a wee chick, we could put our hand down into the brooder and she’d climb on and let us carry her around. When we’d go to put her back into the brooder, she’d try to walk up our arm as if to say “No, I wanna stay with you.” She sounds more like a little song bird than a chicken. She’s 4 months old, and my husband can still get her to climb on his hand and walk up his arm when we need to move her out of her pen.
Now, I must tell you, as much as I love those divas, and I have spoiled them terribly, they are TRUE divas!
Khloe is the Alpha Hen of the three. These girls are sweet as pie to any and all humans that come to see them. Moving them from one pen to another has been no problem for any of us. I’ve had friends small children come over and these girls have never scared a one of them. They were gentle when eating from their hands, didn’t make any sudden moves to scare anyone and were on their best behavior. Even adults that professed to not like chickens, or to be scared of chickens, went away with a different opinion after meeting the divas.
But…they hate Molly.
Forget it. Suddenly, they’re the mean high school girls that shove the sweet girls (Molly) into the lockers. Every time they got around her, they turned into a puffed up pecking and scratching gang of thugs.
We tried everything we could think of to get them to accept her, but to no avail. Started with the “introduction pen” so they could see her, co-habitate with her, but not get at her to cause any harm, and they could all get used to each other. Let Molly out, and they attacked her.
We removed Khloe from the group and put her in a kennel next to everyone else so they could all see each other. (I had read about removing the Alpha Hen or rooster for that matter totry and correct the pecking order). Again, tried with the introduction pen with Kim and Kourtney. Soon as Molly stepped out, they attacked her, with Khloe agging them on from the kennel. Mind you, we did this over a period of time, not jsut a day here and there. I swear to you – nothing worked!
I had never believed that chickens have “personalities”, but they do. I’ve seen it. I think if Molly had just once wing slapped one of those girls or pecked back, or not run the instant they even looked at her, things may have been different. But, all she’d do is hide in the coop and cheep out of fear if they came anywhere near her. It was awful. She was just scared and sad.
So, we moved her into her own pen, by herself, so she can at least have a life. But, we were so worried about her being lonely. I mean, whoever heard of a flock of ONE? She wanted to be friends with the divas. We’ve kept their pens side by side so she could see them, and maybe not be so lonely. They all talk to each other, dust bathe together, scratch together – just don’t let them at her. So, what are responsible chicken parents to do when faced with this dilemma? Well, you visit your feed store on a Saturday, and when you see the sign that says “Baby Chicks for Sale”, you create a flock for your lonely sweet girl.
Henny is on the left (Orpington) and Penny is on the right (Australorp). We chose these breeds because we had read they both do well in mixed flocks, and are docile and friendly. (That and the fact that they’re my “dream breeds” along with the Wyandotte when we move to our forever home where I can have as many chickens as I want!)
We brought them home as wee little fuzzlings. A week later, it was warm enough that we could take them out of the brooder and outside for some fresh air, sunshine and grass. We put them in with Molly and she didn’t peck them, was just curious about them. Their first meeting went very well. Each evening and weekend, we place them outside in the little introduction pen right next to Molly’s pen, so they can all see each other. We’ve put them in with Molly for a bit and they all get along fine. Hopefully in about another month, they’ll be ready to go live outside with Molly full time. (My husband thinks they’re ready now, but I say “nay-nay!” They’re still just babies.)
For now, there is peace and harmony on the homestead.