I had to go to Walmart in Macedon this morning, so I stopped in at Nature Berry Farm to ask Jim the chicken expert two questions.
First, I think Mrs. Beasley has been such a stinker because she’s gone broody. Jim offered to lend me a couple of just hatched chicks to see if she’d take to them and then I could bring them back when she was over her broody phase. But I didn’t want the responsibility; with my luck she’d eat them. So I think I’ll just let her run her broody course and see what happens.
The second question was how to introduce Mimi and Gidget to the rest of the flock. I’d done a little introduction by putting the cage next to the run, but the weather has been rainy and cold this week so I put the girls back in the garage.
Jim suggested I go ahead and put a covered box with “mouse holes” in the hen house and mask them with some pine boughs, and then put Mimi and Gidget in the box. That way they could get in and out quickly but still stay hidden. He also suggested I bring the rest of the flock a treat when I put Mimi and Gidget into the coop so they’d associate them with something good. His last suggestion was to put them in around dusk, so the flock would be settled in for the night and too drowsy to care.
He also said that the longer I waited to put them into the coop the harder it would be for them to get along.
Rats. I probably should have done this last week.
I’m not going to be around at dusk tonight, so I created a nice little cardboard hideaway and put it in the coop.
I put Mimi and Gidget’s food and water inside the box. And then I brought them into the coop – along with some chopped up apples as a peace offering.
Mimi went right into the box, but Gidget popped back out and started exploring the hen house like she owned the place. Which caused Ethel to go after her. Ethel, of all the hens! I put Gidget back into the box and went inside to get some more apples.
When I came back, Mimi and Gidget had gotten out again and were running around the fenced yard, chased by Aunt Bea, Coco and Ethel.
I can’t believe that Ethel is the one who has been the most aggressive to the new girls. But I guess when you’ve been at the bottom of the pecking order you kind of like turning the tables on the new gals.
Anyway, for now Mimi and Gidget are inside the coop in their cardboard apartment.
Mrs. Beasley is camped out on the nesting box. And Coco and the rest of the girls are anxiously waiting for Mimi and Gidget to show their little beaks.
I hope I don’t wake up tomorrow and find two dead chicks in the coop.
UPDATE: 4:06 PM – I went out and found Gidget walking around the yard. When she saw me she went into the coop and jumped on top of the box. Mimi was no where to be found. Then I heard her peeping.
She was in the tiny space under the nesting boxes, where Ethel used to hide. Ah, that’s a good place for them. I may have to move their food and water over there.