Chicken meet and greet

History is full of famous marches: Sherman’s march to the sea, Dr. King’s march on Washington, Gandhi’s salt march. Well, we can leave this one out of the history books, but the Baby Chicken March that concluded this week was as an exciting event here at Down to Earth Farm. In February we became the proud parents of eleven adorable week-old baby chicks. Olivia and Abigail have held all of them and given them ample love since they moved in (Abigail’s affection being quite “aggressive” so we had to monitor how hard she was squeezing the peeping little fur balls).  A few weeks ago, they seemed to be getting near ample size to make the big move to the established coop where a dozen hens (our “Old Ladies”) would be waiting for them.  So each day when we fed them we would also pull their little pen a few feet closer to the big coop, both giving them fresh grass and building excitement.  The anticipation was palpable!  I had read a multitude of differing descriptions and advice on the web about the best way to incorporate new birds into a flock.  There were pages and pages of horror strories of unfortunate and gruesome peckings, so I wanted to set up as smooth a transition as possible.  I considered some ice breakers and other group activies that would promote intergenerational chicken unity (duck, duck, goose, anyone?) but settled on the idea of just having them look at each other across fencelines for awhile. When the big day came and we finally opened the door on the travelling cage, the young chickens slowly and bravely joined their sisters to start their new life.  Two days have passed and the birds have been happily harmonious, though I swear I heard one of the older birds mumbling something about “kids these days..”.

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