I’m sure this story will sound silly to real chicken farmers, but I’m just an amateur.
Did you catch the other part of the story? Roxanne and her flockmate, Marshmallow, arrived last month. They are both two years old, good layers and hand raised. Up until now, all the residents of the backyard had worked out the pecking order and we didn’t have too much trauma.
I had separated the newcomers into their own coop, which seemed to be working until Roxanne’s feathers started disappearing. Marshmallow had been pulling them out at night. Since the weather had taken a turn into bitter cold and Roxanne was shivering, I put her in the garage. Was this necessary? I’m not sure, but I couldn’t leave a shivering chicken outside.
I put her back outside when the weather warmed up, where I had also managed to integrate the red and white chickens into the same coop. Roxanne wasn’t crazy about this arrangement, but she’s been trying. She gamely gets up on the roost with the rest at night and tucks herself into a corner, behind the heat lamp.
I thought this was working, until one morning I left them in the coop for an hour after sunrise. When I got out there, her little face was bleeding. That’s not all bad. I suspect she challenged someone else to a chicken duel, a good sign. But since blood attracts more pecking, I brought her in to clean up her beak. Once inside, she was content to stay inside and made herself hard to catch. Like most small business owners, I don’t have a lot of time to chase birds around the garage and so she stayed another night.
Roxanne’s breed, California White, tends to be flighty. She’s easily taunted. Yesterday, I caught the other birds taking turns chasing her around the yard. She would scream at the top of her little chicken lungs and run, as if for her life.
The hard truth is, I’m not wired to allow this. I simply can’t stand it. I don’t like bullies; human, poultry or otherwise and watching this makes me want to send all the others to what the Wandering Chicken and Mini-Farm calls “Freezer Camp”.
It’s my homestead, I’m the Head Chicken and I want peace. It’s up to me to find a solution.
But don’t worry. Nobody is going to Freezer Camp. Sooner or later, Roxanne’s feathers will grow back and I have confidence they’ll all get used to each other. In the meantime, we’ll have to be patient.
Sometimes in life, the Garage Chicken is In.
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