The problem started back in May when we realized Lizzy, our Rhode Island Red, was a rooster. But we loved Lizzy, so we kept him, hoping maybe we were wrong…we weren’t.
We found a good home for Lizzy, er, I mean, Phil…with a local chicken farmer who promised to give him a nice cage free life. (What a relief! We were worried he’d end up as dinner for someone…which isn’t a bad thing, I realize, but we’d hand fed and pampered this chick since the second day of his life.)
We arranged to pick up two more chicks when we dropped Phil off for the farmer at our local feed store. We’d specifically ordered chicks that were the same age as the ones we already had, hoping to ease the transition a bit.
When I went to gather my new chicks, I was shocked to see the small babies waiting for me. They were half the size of the chicks I had back home! But so cute, how could I say no? So, I drove away with the new babies and hoped for the best.
After studying all about pecking order and how to introduce new chickens to the flock, I successfully introduced the chicks to their older step-sisters, and there was eventual peace in the coop…except…the new girls refused to go out into the chicken run. They’d stay cooped up all day long inside, until I’d let them out for their daily recess.
I tried everything. I’d bring the chicks down and put them in the run. They’d just high-tail it back to safety in the coop. I tried to lure them out with ‘chicken candy’ (cracked corn), they wouldn’t buy it. I brought in a fold-up chicken cage/divider and put them inside to help them get used to being in the run with the other girls. They only stayed as long as they were caged. I’d supervise recess out in the yard and things went as well as could be expected. But those little chicks (which we still refer to as the ‘babies’ even though they’re now almost exactly the same size as the rest of the flock) refused to hang out in the chicken run!
So, imagine my surprise and delight when I went to feed the chickens the earlier this week…the babies! They’re hanging out in the chicken run! All on their own! Yay! True chicken harmony in the family at last!
Don’t they just grow up so fast??