Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Invaders

I wanted to add more hens as I had the space, plus I thought it would help with winter to have the extra bodies. It is very hard to get chickens around the Ottawa area, with cold winters and many many many predators around, most people don't bother trying to keep chickens. I searched for weeks and finally found a woman who had bought black sex-link chicks in the spring but wanted to cut back on the numbers. I drove out and bought four more hens, they were almost ready to lay. While there she showed me a group of Silkies she had and was selling three roosters. I liked the little fuzzy guys walking around and bought one to replace Fred. The lady could pick him up like a pup and pet him, so different than Fred. Sorry the picture below is not very good but they were running around picking seeds, bugs etc.

I was a little worried how my hens who were a little older would treat the new comers, I did not see the disaster that was about to unfold. My hens are not aggressive, they also had their beaks trimmed as chicks so they could not pick each other. The new hens turned out to be much larger with full beaks. It would also appear that I grabbed the more dominate hens out of the large group, the results were four nasty mean hens that made life miserable for my poor girls. After a week things were only getting worse, my hens were not allowed to eat, drink or go outside unless I was there to protect them. My girls stopped laying and I was afraid they would be ganged up on and killed which can happen. I decided to re-sell the new hens.

I began to notice that it seemed to be two hens that were the worse. The other two smaller black hens were not as aggressive and also were picked on by the nasty bigger two. One after noon I locked the smallest black one in with my girls, after an hour or so, she was fine with my girls, I tried with the second smallest and it worked out as well.

Above you can see the smallest black hen is larger than my red hen, so imagine the largest black hen and the difference between red and black. Here they started to get along but the red hen keeps her distance. After a couple of hours together, and without the back-up of the nasty two, the black hen settles in with my girls below. You can also see my little Silkie rooster preening his feathers, I named him Chico-chicken. He, being a Bantam bonded to my smaller girls right away, he stays with them and has even tried to protect them from the larger black hens, of course this only make me like him that much more.

After I tried this with the second smallest hen and it worked well. I tried to do the same thing by separating the bigger hens and keeping them alone with my girls, however with the bigger hens, they were programed to attack and so I had to sell them. I think what happened is that when getting the chickens, we grabbed the first hens that came into the coop not knowing that the first two were the dominate hens out of a flock of fifty, I guess they had to be that aggressive to be top dog amongst fifty but against four smaller hens it could have turned deadly. The smaller ones were underdogs that just happened to run in when the lady chased a bunch to us. Within hours of selling the 'mean girls' the black hens left were totally fine with my hens and now everyone gets along. Four red sex-links, two Black sex-links and one Chico or Silkie.

Still, I feel bad about having to let them go as they were nice quiet big healthy birds but I had no choice, below is the final picture of them and this story... as the girls show you...the end!


Tina. said...

Happened across your blog. I will visit again for sure!

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

Thank you Tina, you may be the only person who ever reads this blog! Haha! ;)