The Chicken is In

I’m sure this story will sound silly to real chicken farmers, but I’m just an amateur.

The Chicken is INWe hardly use Roxanne Chicken’s name anymore.  We call her the ‘Garage Chicken’.

She sleeps on a ladder, a spot she chose herself.  I tuck a box top on the rung under her to catch any nighttime messes.  The system works for everybody.

She sleeps on a ladder, a spot she chose herself. I tuck a box top on the rung under her to catch any nighttime messes. The system works for everybody.

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 put Roxanne outside during the day, but the others chase her around and peck her growing feathers.  This morning, I left the rest of the flock in the coop and she's having some peaceful outdoor time.

I put Roxanne outside during the day, but the others chase her around and peck her growing feathers. This morning, I left the rest of the flock in the coop and she’s having some peaceful outdoor time.

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.

Roxanne hopped up on a table this morning and surveyed her surroundings.

Roxanne hopped up on a deck table this morning and surveyed her surroundings.

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 is a nice companion if you're working in the garage.  She eats hen scratch off the floor and clucks to me when I'm in there.

Roxanne is a nice companion if you’re working in the garage. She eats hen scratch off the floor and clucks to me when I’m in there.

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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Comments

The Chicken is In — 4 Comments

  1. Hi Bonnie,
    Your Mom shared your stories with me via Facebook. Thanks for the laugh!
    A close friend of mine had 3 chickens for about a year before selling them, coop and all to someone who had more time and other chickens.
    She often told me how entertaining they were to watch. I was skeptical until one night after dinner at her house, we sat on the deck and let the chickens “entertain us!”
    It’s one of those things you have to see to believe!

  2. What a cute post! Roxanne looks a lot like my white leghorn but sounds like she’s a different breed. I don’t like chicken bullying either! The pecking order drives me crazy sometimes.

    Visiting from Farmgirl Friday :)
    Tammy
    ourneckofthewoods.net

  3. I’m like you and don’t like the pecking and what not either. We have found that raising chickens of all the same breed cuts down on the “bullying”, if that helps.
    See what we are up to at:www.kshippee.blogspot.com

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