West Side Story, Chicken Style!

Last night after my post I thought I had come up with a wonderful solution for Charlotte.  I remarked to my husband “I should just offer to buy her from the neighbor”.  I thought my genius idea would work wonderfully.  Since Charlotte seems so fond of us anyway I thought I’d just incorporate her into my flock.  I knew I would probably need to separate her for a bit to make sure she isn’t sick and to make sure that the hens got used to her.

Sure enough this morning the first sight that greeted me this morning was Charlotte, pecking around the chicken run.  My fuzzy morning brain, thought “Hey, why not just catch her, throw her in with my girls, and then offer to buy her.  Why wait to acclimate her”.  I put some feed in my hand and held it out for Charlotte.  She slowly came over and then frantically began feeding.  I tried to grab her and she jumped back, startled.  I tried again and the second time I caught her.  Then what did I do?  I placed her straight into my chicken run.  My hens, busy with their feed kept eating.  I thought “Hey this is going great.  Maybe they are used to Charlotte because she comes by so often”.   I was horribly mistaken.  My hens started fluffing up, and even my docile Easter Egger hens turned into something I’d never seen before.  It was like West Side Story, chicken style. You could almost her the chickens snapping as they cornered Charlotte, and then they struck.  Peck!  Peck!  Squawk!  Charlotte frantically tried to run away, but found herself cornered again and again. 

I was horrified.  There is a real pecking order with chickens and poor Charlotte did not belong in this one.  She was a Shark and the Jets simply had no room for her in their turf.  I flung open the chicken door, grabbed Charlotte and quickly closed the door again.  My gangster hens pleased with their success went back to pecking at the grass and the order of laying, as if nothing had happened.  I said something motherly like “That wasn’t very nice girls”.  I should have said “Can’t we all just get along!”. 

Charlotte wandered back up the hill and away from our yard, her little fluffy bum slowly going out of sight.   She was a lost chicken soul in this sad little world.  I’m not sure if we’ll be seeing her again soon.

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4 thoughts on “West Side Story, Chicken Style!

  1. They were all trying to let her knew she was going to the bottom of the pecking order if she wanted to joint heir flock. The phrase “pecking order” didn’t come about for no reason. The most docile chickens can go gangsta on a new chickie if you’re not careful with the introductions. My dad once decided to just throw a new rooster out in our yard with the existing flock- which included an established “top of the pecking order” rooster. They wouldn’t stop fighting long, and kept it up until the new rooster gave up. He never crowed after that, he was so beaten. My dad felt horrible.

    • Poor rooster! I’ve known about the pecking order for a little while. One of my hens rules the roost, but to see them so violent against another hen was a bit surprising. My hens are pretty tolerant with each other but they grew up together.

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