Merging the flock update

Merging the flock update

I’ve been working on merging the flock.

On one side we have the original flock of three hybrids, Belle, Star and Zazu.

On the other side we have the smaller guys, Snowy the Silkie who was with the three big guys for a while last year, and then the newer guys, Poppy the Silkie and Polo the Polish.

The big guys pick on the little Silkie guys but aren’t fussed about Polo the Polish. I wonder what it is about the Silkies? I read something that explained Chickens can see a different range of light with their eyes than humans and what we see as a plain white chicken could in fact be a chicken with a crazy pattern to them. Interesting and makes me wonder.

At some point in the past I noticed that when one of the big guys pecks one of the Silkies, the other two come running and join in. It’s horrible to watch. But then my idea was born, I decided to separate each of the big guys in turn with all of the small guys and let them get used to each other without the others being able to join in.

I started with Star, she settled with them very quickly and I left her in for about two weeks.

I then swapped Star with Belle. I’d seen Belle be quite a bully, it took a bit longer but they all settled which was great. They were together for about a week and a half.

Last but not least it was Zazu’s turn. I should have known she’d be trouble as she’s at the bottom of the pecking order within the big guys. It took over a week for her to settle with Snowy and still occasionally pecks her. The other Silkie, Poppy is still getting harassed but I’ve noticed an improvement this evening. It didn’t help that Poppy had been mildly broody and staying in the coop most of the time, so that delayed their bonding.

Strangely there has been minimal fuss with Polo the Polish who is by far the smallest. This evening I saw something interesting. I’d let them all be together to have corn, and so I could watch their behaviour, I saw Star and Polo eating close to each other and Star did that “threaten to peck” lunge towards Polo as she obviously wanted some space. What I saw next was magnificent! Polo craned towards Star, only to receive a peck in return, Polo then jumped at Star who look a bit shocked. Belle was near by and put a quick end to it by giving Polo a light peck.

Twenty minutes together, sharing some corn

I can quite see Polo moving up the ranks! I’m quite fond of her now, she’s the friendliest and always wants me to lift her to my head height. If she’s in the garden with me she will literally run after me if I walk off. I’ve also seen her get in-between Zazu and Snowy when Zazu was pecking, seemingly to stand up for Snowy.

It feels like there’s progress towards a merged flock, ready for the new coop which there hasn’t been any progress on yet.

Comments 2 comments

2 thoughts on “Merging the flock update

  1. I find that the bigger girls don’t bother with the smallest ones at all. I think it’s because they don’t see them as a threat to their position. This may be why Polo doesn’t have much of a problem.

    It’s the little girls with each other that do the most pecking order stuff. Cinnamon my smallest girl was picking fights with all five amigos for a while.

    I think it looks as if it is going really well and they should all settle together soon. Polo is definitely a little girl with a big character.

  2. Really interesting idea for integration, Kevin and you’re right, that lower-ranking birds tend to be more aggressive to newcomers, in their own attempt to move off the bottom place. Polo is a real character – it is so lovely when you get one who interacts with you as well as she does.

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