Monday, December 12, 2011
New chickens in the mix
So, the girl's lovely art teacher has quite a few chickens and she heard we only had two. She didn't think ours would fare well through the winter (They need more bodies to generate heat on these cold nights.) so she offered us two of hers.
I asked the family if maybe, instead, we would want to give our two chickens to her or to another loving home where we could visit them.
Georgia pondered the question. She loves the chickens very very much, but she is burdened by the fear of losing them. Now, wherever we are, at dusk she begins to fret about putting the chickens in their coop, so they don't get eaten.
Even when we were at my parent's last weekend and had a reliable chicken babysitter, Georgia worried when the sun fell. My sister let her call the home answering machine (where no one was) and leave a couple messages. I listened to them from my class and they were heart rending, "Hi Papa, Umm how are you? Uhhh. Are the chickens in? It's getting dark out and I'm worried. Will you call me?" in her little voice over and over on the machine.
There is a jolt of terror that goes through you, as a chicken owner, every night; even after you tuck them into their cozy coop. "Did I forget?? Did we put them away??"
Usually we say it out loud and then someone else gets a panicked look and then we all remind each other that they are in and they should be fine. It is stressful to be responsible for such sweet gentle creatures that will get devoured and carried away, squawking, in the teeth of a death if you forget yourself in some menial task.
When I proposed my idea of handing off the chickens to a bigger group of hens to Rob, he was completely appalled and looked at me with horror and distrust. He thought I must be kidding. "Never! I love those chickens! I really love them. Are you crazy?!" He looked at me like I was a stranger. And Lily was equally shocked by the proposal.
So off we went to pick up some new chickens to plump up our flock.
Janice had three waiting for us. They were unnamed, so the girls are going to call them Mango, Cinnamon and Ginger.
These are not them, I just loved this photo with the door handle and the sunlit coop.
Here is Cinnamon.
They are much more flighty and wild than our chickens, who seem like plump and docile ladies compared the these new wiry suspicious girls.
Lily called me crying at work their first night to say that the new birds had attacked our unsuspecting hens and there had been a fray. It was bad.
"No one died." she sobbed into the phone. Our chickens looked fine the next morning, but Rob and the girls were traumatized to have seen their dear chickens get mauled and pecked by these newcomers. I think the new girls were just trying to be at the top of the pecking order. Now we are letting them sleep together but having them in separate fenced in areas during the day. There has not been another fight. Over time we will slowly let them acclimate to each other.
We'll see what happens.