As long as they learn. I have never had pullets try to intimidate full grown hens before. What were they thinking?Oh, Bob. All the feels for you. I don't think it was a bad first outing [definitely seen worse] & overall I think it went pretty well but it is always heart wrenching to have to stand back & watch while they sort out differences. I have been incredibly lucky this time. Only one really nasty incident & Morrigu has not made the same mistake twice ~ & yes, she is laying in the nesting boxes, just not the top chook's special one!
These are great!!This is Maryanne out for a stroll in the snow.
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Uhh... A little help here?! Up to her fluffy butt in snow and still can't touch the bottom.
So we resort to carrying them through the house to the sunny side, where the reflected sun melts a small strip of snow to reveal the dirt.
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It's better than nothing!
Aawww, look at Aurora.. so proud of herself! I was kinda proud of her too ... she aint puttin up wit none o dat!Integration: Day 1
Unlike @MaryJanet and @Ribh ,the integration at Fluffy Butt Acres was not smooth today. This is not to say it was unexpected. It is very reminiscent of all the integrations I have had with one difference, this group of pullets really created most of their own problems.
Here they are finally released into the yard. Such optimism in their young faces. Unfortunately, hard lessons were about to be learned.
Everything was timed out well and the lords of randomness even cooperated by of all things having Lilly lay an egg just as the newbies were released. With the meanest of my hens occupied I thought this should go pretty smoothly. I think it would have except the newbies had other ideas.
It’s Never Easy but Sometimes They Make it Hard on Themselves
As before, as soon as the doors are open, the Bigs headed into the big run to eat and generally reclaim their territory. With the Newbies in the yard, this should have allowed for space between the 2 groups, alas, my two brilliant pullets, Phyllis and Sydney had other ideas.
It started with Hattie walking through the big run and Sydney deciding that it was time that Hattie understood she was below Sydney in the pecking order. Now Sydney is not small but Hattie has to be twice her size. Hattie put Sydney in her place. It was short and not particularly vicious. Frankly I was so surprised with how this went down I did not get any video.
This would not be the end of the Newbies trying to take control.
Next on their list would be Aurora.
Phyllis decided to go first in intimidating Aurora. Now Aurora has to be 3 times her size. I was surprised by this one but I did get the camera started just as it happened. Because it is so fast and right at the beginning of the video, I have taken this still so you can see Phyllis initiate the situation by raising her neck in an effort to peck down on Aurora, as you will see in the video, Phyllis loses.
As the video continues, you will Sydney try again to assert her authority. This time over Aurora another hen that is larger than her. Pay close attention, you will see Sydney peck Aurora on the back and Aurora react quickly and decisively. This would be the end of Sydney’s attempt to exert dominance for the day but not the end of her adventures.
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Round 2 Goes Worse
The next incident took me completely off guard and there is no video because it was so fast all I could do was go “Oh Crap!”.
Phyllis simply did not accept her defeat to Aurora. Aurora decided to try again while Aurora was still in the front of the big run about where Aurora had her incident with Sydney. Phyllis came up to her again and this time pecked her on the back.
With a fury!
She grabbed Phyllis by the neck feathers and did not let go. Phyllis tried to run and Aurora rode her to the ground and stood on her. Aurora ripped two feathers out of Phyllis’ neck (not her head) and damaged one of Phyllis’ wing feathers in the process. Here is Phyllis afterwards with her damaged wing feather.
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Thus ended the Newbies trying to cow the Old Ladies. I am very glad it ended for the day. The lessons were hard learned. I still can’t believe that little Phyllis was trying to take on a hen 3 times her size. I thought she was smart but this makes me wonder. She certainly showed no fear……I guess.
After all of this fun, the Big Ladies headed over to the house together and the three littles occupied their time working over the patch of grass between the coop and the garden. Even when Aurora did return to their area the Newbies had learned enough to stay clear.
Not the Pool!
Of course, after that much fighting, the girls were a little jumpy. At some point, something spooked Phyllis, probably a song bird. She flapped a short quick wing-jump and that spooked Sydney big time. The created one of the things I feared most, an airborne pullet headed over the pool.
I quickly measure her trajectory, take off, and the distance she needed to travel (I have some experience with pool flying). My brain says, no way she makes it, mid-pool landing is likely. I start to head for the pool pole and net. The water is just above freezing and she will catch hypothermia quickly. I check back and she is starting to decend towards the pool. Yup, about mid-pool. Drat!
Then something amazing happens, she somehow starting flapping faster and gains altitude. I have NEVER seen a hen gain altitude like this and she manages to clear the pool and land safely. Now she is on the opposite side of the pool from the other two. Here is where she finds herself.
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I let her settle and then I try to guide her to the other side by walking her around the pool. It is best that she learns the way by walking herself. However, she will not move. She will not walk. I try to get her to move with my hand; instead she lets me touch her. In the end I have to carry her, until we get most of the way around the pool and she can see the others. Then she wants down. I put her down and she runs to join the other two.
Well, sooner or later Lilly was going to finish laying that egg. Everything has finally settled when she comes out. Fortunately she heads to house to beg for snacks. That buys the littles some more time. Lilly really does not start to pay attention to them until right before she heads to bed. Then her interest is in luring them into a false sense of security and then attacking. I never really knew when she would do it and it is masterful. Just as the newbies relax, Lilly pounces and pecks someone on the back.
She lets them relax, then out of nowhere,
They fell for it quite a few times and then Lilly went to bed (smiling, I’m sure). I thought things would settle down then but after Lilly and Hattie went to bed, Aurora’s attention returned to the Big Run. I believe that Phyllis has learned her lesson regarding Aurora and now when she enters the run, Phyllis jumps up on the roost in their little coop.
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The problem now is that the Newbes want to go to bed but Aurora is milling around in the “their” run. I intervene and coax Aurora out with some snacks so they can roost in piece. The Newbies roost themselves in their little coop and I stop distracting Aurora.
What does Aurora do?
Go and check out the little coop section of the prefab. She is looking into their coop where I am certain they are terrified that she is coming in after them. I can’t let this go. I shew her out of the prefab and lock her out.
So ends day #1
No one is really damaged, a feather or 2 is gone but overall, we are doing OK.
The most interesting thing to me was how Sansa really managed to avoid all the drama. I figured she would be the one to get into trouble. She played it smart all day. I did not see her get caught once by a larger hen. Hopefully the three of them can discuss this tonight before they go to sleep and have a better plan for tomorrow.