Five weeks ago, I drove a 200 mile round trip to bring home three new hens to add to my little backyard flock. Introducing new hens is always a difficult process, they can be remarkably opinionated creatures and don’t enjoy having new housemates! The ‘pecking order’ is a very real, and sometimes rather violent thing. For the sake of both my new and existing hens, I wanted to achieve as gentle and stress-free an introduction process as I possibly could, and made arrangements to take my time about it. You can catch up with the story so far, from coming home, first introductions, and settling in together.
The weekend before last, once the hens were reasonably settled living together, but sleeping mostly apart, I took the second henhouse out of the run, leaving a dodge-board for the small girls to get out of sight behind if necessary. There was a bit of stress around bedtime the first couple of nights, but the girls are now all bedding down comfortably side by side on the perches, and during the day, apart from the odd scuffle, are mixing, feeding, preening and generally getting on with happy relaxed henny-things! Egg production is down, but then it’s well into autumn and more dark than light these days so that’s hardly surprising.
Flora continues to wear her bit – her behaviour is the last remaining problem, it’s not really her fault, I suppose, but things would be really nice and settled without her disturbing influence on the flock. I think – though it might be wishful thinking – that the frequency and savagery of her attempted attacks on the other girls are reducing a little. With a bit of luck, in another month or so, the headgear can come off. In the meantime it seems to be causing her very little difficulty, she’s eating well and laying better than anyone else at the moment, giving an egg almost every day.
Midge is growing up fast, with more comb and wattle than she had when she first arrived, and a hunger to match the growth rate. I’d love to think we’d get some eggs from her soon, though I suppose it may not be until spring.
With a bit of luck – though I hate to put it in black and white and jinx it! – things are settling nicely now. I had in mind that things would take about a month to bed down and we’re pretty much on that target. I really hope the girls can get on with enjoying their seasonal treats (the Halloween pumpkins are going down rather well just now!) and lay me lots of nice tasty eggs for a long time to come!
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