The two little, new girls moved in with the big flock this weekend. Like the merge before, we set the new girls into the coop after dusk on Friday night. The next morning, I was sure to be up early to head off any problems. They were fine on the roost, but when I let them all out into the run Saturday morning, Henny the Speckled Sussex targeted the small Phoenix hen. The phoenix responded by trying to hide her head where the fence and ground meet, rubbing her head hard against the metal fence. I realized then that this was how she had damaged the feathers on her head before. I went into the run to intercede, poking Henny with a finger, “pecking,” when she went after the new girls.
They settled down and had a good day, but Mark was concerned that the girls may not have had the courage to eat and drink inside the coop. So, today, he caught both girls when they were all out in the run and set them down in the coop. Closing the door to keep the others out, we gave the new girls more time to eat and drink unharassed. They ate and drank for a long time, so although they had had scratch and plenty of chances to come into the coop alone earlier, they were obviously hungry. However, after we showed them the food and water in this way, they have been back throughout the day, so they should be fine now.
It’s a glorious Sunday in fall, and the chickens are out ranging. They are a beautiful sight among the fall leaves.