Please bear with me, this may be a long post! We have a small flock of 7 chickens, of varying breeds. We treat like pets- I call them "my girls!" They come when I whistle, they hang out at the back door, begging for attention and treats, and all was well in our world until... A few days ago, one of my girls, Pecky, began to act, not like herself. I suspected sour crop- I vomited her, and she perked up a little, but still wasn't back to herself. We have another chicken, Miss Reggie, that we rescued last summer from a commercial chicken farm- she was being beaten to death by the other hens, so we brought her home to live in what I like to call, "The Battered Women's Coop." (I don't say that lightly- we have rescued each of our girls from situations they didn't need to remain in.) Anyway, I called the farmer we got Miss Reggie from, hoping he would have some insight into how to care for Pecky. Of course, he had nothing- I don't know why I thought he would, since I've seen how he "cares" for his animals. BUT- he remembered me, and he said, "Hey...you know, I've got five hens right now I've had to separate from my flock because they were being beaten...would you be interested?" What could I say? I loaded up my kids and a great big cage into the back of my truck, and away we went, on a rescue mission. In the span of an hour, we went from our little flock of 7, to an even dozen. These birds are so traumatized- they were in a commercial farming environment, and are clearly not ok. I tried to feed them some crackers, to gain their trust, and they acted like I was throwing fireballs at them. They don't know how to roost. One's wing is badly damaged. They stink. Ugh.... Anyway, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed...and then, my father in law (who lives next door) informs me that he will no longer be buying feed for his 4 hens. Also, he has made no attempt to winterize his tiny portable coop, and has actually promised it to my niece, to use as a rabbit hutch. Basically, his hens will be hungry, cold, and homeless UNLESS...you guessed it. They're moving on into my coop. I can't stand suffering, and because of that, I've gone from 7 chickens to 15 in the course of 24 hours. (No, my math isn't off. I'm only taking 3 of his hens. 1 used to be mine, and I sent her away a long time ago for being a raging *****. She can go in the pot for all I care.) I'm just sitting here on the verge of tears, feeling totally overwhelmed, wondering how I'm going to keep them from killing each other. I feel sorry for my girls, who just had their world turned upside down. Why can't I ever say no?! I don't think there's much any of you can do to help- I just needed to vent, because none of my friends understand. The "Crazy Chicken Lady" jokes have already begun. Thank you for listening! I'm going to go start counting down the hours til it's an acceptable drinking time!