After the Fearsome Mr Fox encounter a few weeks ago, we really had to find the enduring little Naynaynay Number Four some company. By all accounts, chickens do not fare so well alone, being social creatures. Nay was looking a little nervy (well, a little more than her usual nervy self) and was tucking herself away in the coop alone each night in a forlorn manner. So we contacted a local breeder, since the next hen rescue seemed to be some months away.
Two weeks ago we finally welcomed two rather spectacular blacky-green Australorps to our little patch. Kaz was as pleased to see them as he was to welcome the last lot, especially since he has discovered just how much he loves the chickens…
They are only a few months old, so they are not yet ready to lay. We were assured that they would be mild mannered and easy going, though possibly a little intimidated by our bossy older hen. We kinda smirked at the suggestion that timid, permanently pecked little Nay could ever be bossy. But it is a classic textbook case of the-bullied-turns-bully… She spent most of the first few days fixing the poor youngsters with her one remaining evil eye and rushing at them for a little peck every chance she got. And though they do keep each other warm at night, she seemed to waver between needing to take charge of the territory and asserting her space in the coop – so bedtime was a little fraught to begin with.
We have a month to help them settle in together. The little 6x4ft run seemed a bit tiny when the rather grand sized young birds were there on their own…and so the weekend we got the new girls, the doctors honed their man-skills to construct a larger pen by cobbling together materials found in the copse. But the next day we got home to find that the athletic Australorps had escaped Naynaynay’s brutish behaviour and the pen in one nifty hop over the coop…so we are back to taking the risk with Mr Fox and hoping that a broader area to roam about in may enable them to establish their pecking order with a minimum of feathers flying. They all seem to be sticking relatively close to home…so fingers crossed!
The first real test was three nights alone this last weekend – we went on holiday! The girls all survived, and we found them here under the hedge on our return:
It is wonderful to have such beautiful young birds in our garden. For the time being we are trying to make friends with the very wary newcomers and shall reserve their naming ceremony until we have had a better chance to get to know them. Let’s hope they fare much better than the last little flock!