Introducing chickens

I walked down late this morning after doing some jobs at home. I found Geoff sitting in his coop with his favourite chicken on his lap. We had a quick chat about the weather before I mentioned about recording the cockerel crowing in Mick the Greek’s coop yesterday. Curious about whether the cockerel would recognise his own crow, I walked up to the coop armed with my phone with the video ready.

The cockerel was standing on a perch. The first time I played his crow, he put his head in one side and eyeballed me. By the second time, he jumped onto the floor to get closer to me. The third saw him up to the fencing, clearly not impressed. The following few crows saw him following me up and down the coop as I walked along the path. Geoff found this hilarious, watching from his coop as I ran up and down the path, chased by confused cockerel!

Eventually, I decided I had teased the poor cockerel enough and Geoff and I adjourned to the clubhouse. Someone had thoughtfully brought in doughnuts and home made cake today which was scoffed with great enjoyment. As we chatted together, I decided today was the day to introduce the chicks. The weather isn’t due to be too hot over the next week so I planned to use the greenhouse. The advantage of using the greenhouse is that it is fox proof, protected from the wind and rain and has a large enough space for the chicks to get away from each other if they don’t get on.

I moved the coop outside onto the patio area and tidied up the inside of the greenhouse. I reorganised the bigger bits (ladder, storage container, stool) and took out the pet carriers so the floor was clear. Then I walked to the broody box to collect our Plymouth Rock chick. She was easy to catch but rather unimpressed with being held. I carefully put her into the greenhouse and placated her with a handful of oats and sunflower seeds.

Next was the tricky bit. Getting past a defensive cockerel to steal one of his girls. I got into the coop and kept a close eye on him. I couldn’t get too near the cream legbar chick as they were all quite fast and determined to run away from me. The cream legbar was definitely the lowest in he pecking order. It might be because the others recognise she is a different breed, or a bit smaller. Luckily, Phil came in and helped corner the cream legbar. He passed her to me and I walked up to the greenhouse trying to calm her down. She wasn’t having any of it!

As soon as Leia saw her she went for her. Neck feathers out, standing tall and aggressively pecking at the new chick. I separated them with a foot and over the next few minutes kept removing Leia to the other side of the greenhouse, away from the cream legbar.

Over the next hour, Leia kept squaring up to the other chick but eventually lost interest, taking a dust bath. The cream legbar walked around the greenhouse, scratching at the sawdust and having a long drink. Phil dropped by to see how they were doing and suggested leaving them together overnight as they seemed to be settling down. Part of the reason why Leia had been so aggressive at the start may have been because she has been on her own for 3-4 weeks and has become quite territorial. As I left, they were ignoring each other which is progress. Hopefully they will hit it off overnight so that both of them can have a friend.

Update to follow tomorrow!

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