Last night, Dolly slept with the large flock out in the coop. She has decided to return home with her older flock now that her chicks are 4 weeks old. It took her a few days to make her decision. Dolly and I worked together to help her transition easier. Over the past few days, she spent more and more time out with her old family and less and less time with the chicks. Today, she no longer calls for her chicks when in the large coop area. She also no longer cares to find me to help her return to the brooder and her chicks. She has made her decision.
I do have to say that keeping the chicks is a bit easier for me without Dolly in the brooder with them. I find that I do not have to clean out the waterer and feed dish as frequently. Perhaps, it is because there is not an over sized chicken in the brooder scratching pine shavings everywhere. The chicks are also not as afraid of my hand. Still timid, I can reach in and not have panic ensue. I also do not have Dolly pecking at my hand and warning her babies of my hand’s arrival.
Last night, the babies slept well. They did not look for Dolly to help them fall asleep as they did two nights ago. Instead, they nestled together,creating a downy patchwork quilt amongst the brooder floor. In the middle of it all, was Dottie Speckles, our 4 day old chick, laying her head on the wing of her new found sibling, our brooder’s alpha rooster!
Finally, a small pecking order is starting to develop. At the helm is Dottie Speckles! She runs the show. I find it so funny. Everyone in the brooder follows her lead. She holds her head high and carries herself as though she is very important. When she drinks and eats, everyone follows her lead. She is a hot ticket. I also find that the roosters are starting to have mini-battles to determine the alpha male. I laugh, as it reminds me of a real western showdown. Everyone is growing up so quickly.
I am glad that Dolly is happy to be with her old family and in her original home where she can relax, visit and scratch amongst familiar surroundings in the run. There truly is no place like home; even for chickens. Meanwhile…three other hens are broody in the coop!