Chicken Update

Chicks at 8 weeks old

A few weeks ago the time arrived to separate mama hen from her four chicks. All of their adult feathers were in and I felt Rooster needed another adult female around. The young ones peeped and cried for their mama for a few days. Mama was also unhappy she couldn't be next to her children. At night the babies huddled in the same corner of the paddock trying to climb underneath each other like they did with mama. After two nights of that I decided it was time for them to learn about sleeping in the coop on the roost. When evening came I locked them inside the coop. It took a few days and then they realized it was nicer to sleep off the ground inside the dry coop.

Chicky behind the partition.

I let everyone get accustomed to the new situation for one week before moving Chicky to the coop. I sectioned off a portion of the coop just for him. I carried Chicky from near our house to his new dwelling. I could feel his heart beating as he observed the new world outside the cage.

Free Chicky!

After a few days it appeared to me the other four chicks were unconcerned about the new addition. It also seemed like Chicky wanted to explore more of the coop. I took down the barrier and stood back to observe what would happen. I wasn't surprised to see Chicky act socially awkward with other birds. He went up to the other rooster, Junior, and got in his face, causing Junior to do a flying jump at Chicky. An extremely frightened Chicky ran for cover in his wool hen.

Chicky is slowly learning how to be around the other birds. Watching him reminds me of being the new kid at a new school. He is easily frightened by the other's movements. So far he hasn't participated in any group activities. He chooses to do things when the others aren't around. I've spent time inside the coop encouraging him to come out of the shelter and to simply be around the others. The other chickens aren't aggressive with Chicky, they are just assertive with their status.

Junior, the rooster and the eldest hen.

After watching Chicky for several days and helping him the best I could it dawned on me that he has PTSD. I wondered if he would remember the trauma of getting scalped and apparently he does. It has been one week since I let Chicky join the other junior flock. He is improving, however still scared of any sudden movements by the others. To me it looks like the eldest junior hen wants to bully Chicky. I have stepped in a few times but ultimately Chicky needs to learn how to stand up for himself. I have a whole new appreciation for people suffering from PTDS.

Chicky as seen this morning.

Watching all of this made me realize how many idioms use the word chicken. Many of them have taken on new meanings to me. Currently I am trying to help Chicky gain more courage so he doesn't "act like such a chicken"!

I added two videos to the youtube channel. Both were taken this morning. In the second one you can see a scared Chicky running through the paddock and inside the coop.



Comments