I recently had a birthday, and my amazing wife, Kathy, presented me with an equally amazing birthday present – a portrait of four of my chickens by the Wisconsin artist Susan Martin. I’ve been using an image of Susan’s painting “Three Wise Roosters” on my egg cartons because I love its rusticity and whimsy, so I was overjoyed to see the images of Snowball the Silkie rooster, Emily and Courtney the Silkie hens, and Angitou the Polish hen put to canvas.
|Snowball and His Hens - by Susan Martin|
This group of chickens, by the way, are my “decorative” chickens and share a coop separate from the rest of the flock. Courtney and her Legbar chicks share a small coop next door to this coop and my plan is for them to all eventually live together. The first step in incorporating the babies with this group of chickens happened a week ago when I replaced the solid pop door separating the two coops with a hardware cloth panel, so everybody could see each other.
|The Legbar Babies Viewing the World Through a Hardware Cloth Window|
Yesterday, I opened the door entirely so I could see how everybody would interact. I sprinkled a handful of dried mealworms at the door entrance and in no time at all, Courtney and the kids were at the door and then through the door, happily pecking up mealworms.
|Courtney calls to her babies through the pop door & out they come, pell-mell, tumble bumble!|
Emily and Angitou were in the coop when Courtney walked in with her chicks and both hens acted very cautiously. Emily was a little taken aback by this intrusion of strangers, and quietly backed into a corner. Angitou stood stock still and actually backed up when one of the chicks ran over to check her out. Courtney apparently was concerned about this interaction, however, and ran at Angitou aggressively, chased her around a couple of times until Angitou escaped out the door and into the run.
After an hour in the big coop, I put Courtney and babies back into their coop. They’re in the big coop again today, though, and I’m hoping I can leave them there all day without any major battles.
|The chicks are 23 days old today! Here, Marissa says, "See how cool and grown up I am! I can perch!"|