We’ve all had those moments, life’s little moments that bring joy. Now some may consider me crazy, and that’s OK, but I get such joy from raising chickens. These crazy fluff balls are thought and talked about daily. What treats can we scrounge up for them, should I make them oatmeal with or without raisins, how they’re getting along with the change in temperatures... who’s going to start laying me eggs next, etc.
This past weekend was one of those moments for me. The Hooligans were let out of their side of the run, and had a few hours of freedom. If you just started to follow along, we have two sets, the Hooligans and the Cotton Club. Once they realized the door was open, all three made a beeline to get out. They’ve watched the Cotton Club enjoy a dust bath, eat grass and chase after bugs. It was now their turn.
They made it out to the set of robellini trees, just beyond the main gate, but for their first foray it was great!
We’ve kept them separate for the past few months from the rest, so they wouldn’t be abused. Chickens, can really be rude. Sneaking up behind them and ripping out feathers from their backsides. They definitely are bullies. However, since they’ve been watching each other for months now, the transition wasn’t too bad; only minimal “hen pecking”. It was worse by the hens further down the pecking order. They are not too willing to give up what little leverage they have. So they went out of their way to bother them on occasion. Enough so, that the three of them were too scared to walk past the Cotton Club to get back in at the end of the day. I had to pick them all up and carry them in. Yes, laugh, it’s no easy feat chasing and capturing chickens in general, it’s even harder when they are smaller and quicker. The only one that didn’t have any issues with them was Pig Pen, our handsome rooster. He just strutted past them, acting like the big shot he is.
They are now back in their respective corners, awaiting our return Saturday to let them all out again to forage. We will keep them separate at night and when we are not around until the Hooligans reach the age where they can eat the same food as the older ones. They are still on chick/grower rations. They have about 6 weeks left.
After getting the Cotton Club last July, and seeing the abuse the little ones suffered at the
hands beaks of the others, it was very
important to us that this behavior was not continued on the Hooligans. They hold a very special place for us. Keeping them separate until they are large
enough to flee or fight back is really important.