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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Joining the flock

Update:  A couple of hours after writing this post, I went out to check on them.  The silkie is gone.  I have no idea what happened.  No sign of her anywhere, no fence breach.  It must have been a hawk or an eagle.  I am really upset - I bought 3 silkie chicks because I really wanted silkies again - and now I have none.  The poor little gold one is really upset too and following me around now.  I feel horrible, I must have put them out too soon.  But they seemed ready.  Ugh.  Farm life can really hurt sometimes.

Remember those little chicks I couldn't resist buying in this post?

Well, as you may recall, sadly, two of them didn't survive, but the one black silkie and the production hen of unknown breed (brown layer) did survive.  Yesterday, I took them out to the coop to join the flock.  Integrating hens into an existing flock can be tricky.  The pecking order needs to be re-established, and the new ones are almost invariably at the bottom.  These two are likely to stay there for a while at least, until they  gain some size.

I put them into the coop in late afternoon, a couple of hours before roosting time.  This gave them a chance to spend some time alone in the coop before the flock returned.  It also meant that they would not be subject to a long day of hassles from the other birds.

They ended up on top of the nesting box (former desk) and I took a couple of flash pictures of them together.  They are bonded with each other and will likely remain close as they get older.
 In the nesting unit underneath them, there is a hen sitting on wooden eggs, and she's been sitting for at least 3 weeks now.  I wish she'd hurry up and get over her broody spell!  Unfortunately, others lay eggs in her nest box but she eats the other eggs.  Silly bird.
I still don't know exactly what breed of brown-laying production hen I have.  I thought she would be a little darker.  She's really very pretty - a sort of golden brown with light coloured tail feathers.  She may be a Golden Comet or Gold Sex-Linked hen. You can really see that she is quite a bit bigger than the silkie.  The silkie seemed to settle down to roost, but the layer hen was more active even after dark when I went in to take these pictures.  She will figure out the routine soon!

I hope they'll continue to be good friends and that they will integrate into the flock without too much difficulty.  They are a funny little pair but I enjoy adding the diversity to my flock.

7 comments:

Mrs. Sew and Sew - Karen said...

I love reading your post. I lived on a ranch in Texas many many years ago. I loved it! I have longed for that life since I left it. Messy divorce......! I am very envious of you! :-)

Patty Woodland said...

The silkie is very cute.

Cloverleaf Art and Fibre said...

Oh rats. But maybe she will still turn up ... didn't you have some that survived a long spell buried in a snowdrift or some such adventure?

Lin said...

Aw, crud. I hope she has just found a hiding spot. :( They sure are pretty--and such good friends. I hope the remaining one will be okay with the crowd.

edenhills said...

I hope the little red one has made new friends with the rest of the chickens. I'm so sorry to hear about the silkie.

Tammy said...

Is there any little spot she could have fell down behind or into or under? I can see her being very hard to spot. I've had them turn up in some very weird places too--like under an upended water tub.

Sorry anyway, sometimes the bitter gets ahead of the sweet on the farm.

Tammy

Tatteranne said...

Life just seems so cruel at times. I hope the little gold one has settled in and if not I hope you continue to add to your flock. In a way you still have a little flock here in Iowa so have faith!