Friday, September 12, 2014

Chicken Drama in the Barn Yard

I'm working to introduce Mrs. Hall to Rosie and Egret.  At first, I would open the door to the chicken coop and let Mrs. Hall go in to mingle.  As you can see the photo above, Mrs Hall was mostly interested in checking out the feeder, and the new chickens stayed as far away from her as they could in such a small space.  Since no one got pushy or mean during these brief interactions, I decided to try letting the new chickens out of the coop to explore the yard with Mrs. Hall.  

I opened the door and took a step back and Rosie and Egret sauntered out and immediately began scratching for tasty bugs in the grass.  

Mrs. Hall joined them in the shade of the asparagus bed, and for a few moments everything was peaceful and I had hope that they were going to be the best of friends.  Like the three musketeers, only without swords.  Mrs. Hall and Rosie were busy scratching with their heads together when they must have found a particularly tasty treat, because WHAM!, Mrs. Hall nailed Rosie right on the back of the head with her beak.  Rosie cried out, and ran to the left, and Egret ran to the right, so that they were separated by the asparagus and blackberry beds.  

In the video above, taken moments after the attack, you can see that Rosie and Egret are still separated and even though it was Rosie who got hen pecked, when Mrs. Hall aggressively approaches Egret, she feels trapped by the fence runs and squeaks.  Rosie, hearing Egret's distress, begins to cackle.  Soon everyone is clucking and cackling.  Oh, the drama!

To ease the tension, I led Mrs. Hall to the breakfast area for a snack, and coaxed the newbies back together, which calmed everyone down.  When I watched the video just now, I realized how much my back yard looks like a barn yard!  The grass hasn't been mowed, which the chickens appreciate.  The brown patches in the grass are where the chicken tractor stood for a day before I moved it.  The grass recovers pretty quickly, but it's still not the manicured lawn loved by suburbia.  The combination of overgrown garden beds and cackling chickens adds a nice touch to the barn yard ambiance.  

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