I’m beginning to understand laying chickens a whole lot better. They are an interesting lot; each has a unique personality and plays their own role. They are the kind of chickens that can be named because they become pets and contributing members of the family.
There was an altercation, of sorts, a couple of weeks ago. For the time being, we keep our babies, adolescent and young adult chickens separate at night, but let the adolescent and young adult share space during the day. Eventually we will open the screened space between the two coops, allowing them to mingle all of the time, but they are all at different developmental stages so we think time with their own is necessary.
One of the adolescent chickens went calling on the older gals and I think got too close to their food and they lashed out. Three of them started pecking violently on the back of her head. If Steve hadn’t intervened, I’m certain they would have killed her. Once a chicken has any type of wound, it is not uncommon for them to be picked upon. Even in her own coop, her siblings couldn’t help but be curious about the blood, so they began pecking at her too. It is why having a “nursery” is necessary when raising chickens; it’s purpose is to serve as a place to convalesce after injury so that the other chickens won’t make matters worse by going after the wound.
Since we had not yet carved out a spot for seclusion in the coop, our only choice was to put the injured adolescent in the brooder in the barn with the baby chickens. They are still quite small and can’t reach the wound. The poor girl looked so silly in the brooder because she is too big and can’t stand up straight. Silly or not, the younger ones took to her as their “babysitter” immediately. As Steve fabricated a nursery for the coop, our adolescent remained in the brooder clucking after her young charges.
Even after completing the corded off area and even after her wound healed, she has no intention of rejoining her original sibs; she has remained with the baby chickens. We tried to introduce her back into the fold, but she scampered over to the baby area and remained there until I put her back in with the little guys. As I watched her tenderly look after the babies, with her striking, yet gawky good looks I couldn’t help but humanize her. She is lanky, has beautiful strawberry blond feathers, bright, sparkling eyes, a soft, sweet demeanor, and a friendly, outgoing personality. Her name came to me in an instant.
She is now called Taylor Swift…..or T Swizzle when I am feeling gangster.