August 11, 2014
It has been almost a week since I completely integrated the baby chicks in with our older flock of six hens. The babies, two Buff Brahma Bantams, one Salmon Favorelle, two Easter Eggers and a Golden Laced Wyandotte, seem to be finally settling in. I have doubled up on feeders and tripled the waterers and there is plenty of room in the large new coop. For hours, the kids and I have spent portions of our days, sitting outside the coop watching the two flocks become one. Through our observations, we have come to realize the big girls tolerate the presence of the little ones.
It doesn't mean they have to immediately love or even like one another.
There are no evening snuggles, but the little ones are allowed to sleep in the coop. Each morning as I go to open up the pop door to the run, I find the little ones perched up on the roosts as the other chicken mill about in the floor's shavings. Everyone is content to be co-existing.
No feathers have been plucked and there has been no blood shed. Sometimes, this can happen as you integrate two different flocks of ages and sizes without proper introductions.
They intermingle. There is no chasing. There is not relentless taunting. There is no stalking. There is no harassment. Occasionally, one of the larger girls will assert herself by pecking on one of the little one's neck. The peck is not meant to induce harm or inflict injury. It is just a reminder to the little ones that they are higher up in the pecking order.
They are content to respect one another. This makes me happy.
Tolerance is such an important life lesson that the chickens have shared with our family. Not everyone is going to like you, nor are you going to like them. However, it is important to always be courteous, respectful, and kind. You don't have to be friends. You don't have to hang out. But you should always lead by example. It's a great big world out there and the flock of humanity is grandiose in size. Sometimes, the chickens seem to make life's lessons simpler. For that I am grateful. Those fluffy butts never seem to disappoint. Especially when sometimes, the timing of their lessons seem to coincide with the events in our lives and the world around us.
Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest