Friday, September 30, 2011

Can we live here?

Several days ago, we officially started Mission: Chicken Integration.  They've been hanging out in the yard, unsupervised, without any issues for the last couple weeks so we decided it was time.  I also want to get the integration complete before the babies start laying eggs in the end of October.  And since I'm not working I can spend plenty of time playing rooster and preventing a bloodbath.

We've experienced plenty of surprises as well as stresses.  Here's what has gone down so far...

Night #1:  Shawn secretly tucked the babies up with Abby and Frannie at night.  (Diurnal birds generally have terrible eyesight in the dark so neither party had any idea.)  We were nervous so we checked on them again before bed, but everything was ok.

Morning #1:  I went out there early in the morning as it was getting light out to make sure I would be there when they woke up.  The ladies were down off their roost, and left as soon as I opened their door.  Babies were still roosting and were fine.  They had a hard time getting down though.

Night #2:  Same as night #1.

Morning #2:  I went out there early again and this time the babies were down on the ground off the roost and Abby and Frannie were still up.  I opened the door the connects the coop to the run and they went out, but Abby followed quickly and attacked Pearl.  Luckily I was able to open the run up to the outside and the babies escaped.  Pearl had another bloody comb... poor baby.

Night #3:  Samesies.

Morning #3:  The babies were down again, this time I brought the older ladies down and hung out in the coop with the doors closed and sat in between the two parties.  The babies were clearly nervous about being in such close quarters with their attackers and Abby and Frannie were clearly upset that the babies were in their home.  Abby tried sneaking by me to beat Pearl up but after about 15 minutes, I had enough and let them all out.
Night #4:  I went out to find Elsa pacing back and forth nervously with no sign of Pearl.  Guess where she was?  Up on the roost in the big coop!  Shawn and I were wondering what would happen so we put Elsa up with her sister and waited for the other two.  Not surprisingly, Abby hopped up and started bullying Pearl so we had to intervene.  We hung out for about 10 minutes as Frannie joined and all four settled down in the near-dark.  Overall, feeling pretty good, since Pearl is so smart.

Morning #4:  I walked out and immediately heard sounds of chicken attack.  When I ran over and opened the door, Abby and Frannie burst out and I found Pearl and Elsa cowering in the corner.  No blood.  Whew.  I wonder how long that was going on for?

This is going to be a long stressful road...

Morning #1: Staying out of the rain together.  Don't be fooled.  They're not friends.

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