Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gang of Four

I have 3 new handmaidens. The old one is not pleased.

Even chickengoddesses have to live and learn. And I have learned. The answer to the question of introducing new pullets to a single old hen is, um, don't do it.

You see, I have been intending to get Ophelia new friends since Gladys was killed, years ago. And probably had I done it then while she was still young it would have been fine. But not so now. I brought home 3 pullets today and tossed them in with the best of intentions. At first, they were acting like one big happy family. Then I noticed that Ophelia had started pacing and talking a lot. Whole lots. She started getting kinda schizo with the pacing and talking to herself, but was still largely leaving the pullets alone. Then she started pecking them, but only like a warning, and only when they came near her. I had hoped that this was as far as it would go, but sadly I was wrong. About the time my husband came home for lunch she had started seeking them out like some kind of chicken terminator. The littlest one found shelter between the roosting bars and the floor where she could just fit, but she couldn't stay there forever. The other two were getting bloodied and I had to do something, so I pulled Ophelia out and put her in the bathroom while I ran out and borrowed an old rabbit cage from a friend. It will definitely do for now. So now everyone is separate and safe, until the new girls get big enough to go in with Ophelia.

Originally I had named my chickens Gladys and Ophelia because those were the names my sister and I would assume as children when we played dress up at my Gram's house. But now that there's only Ophelia, I have decided to go with the theme of Shakespearean females, and after today sticking with the tragic ones seems only right. So here's Juliet (the white one), Desdemona (the black and white one) and Cleopatra (mostly black) in their first blog appearance, with Ophelia being angry, which is what she does best today. Any guesses how long before she starts laying again?


robbingpeter said...

Great! Now I know Chicken for I AM GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS!!

kmkat said...

Based on my observations of dogs, wherein, when separated by a fence they are most fierce and belligerent toward others on the other side of the fence and not of their pack, but when the fence is removed the two antagonists separate widely, then tentatively explore each other in a mostly peaceable fashion, I would advise this: either put them all together in a larger pen, which may very well end in chicken cannibalism and which is not the desired outcome, or separate the cages so they cannot see or hear each other. If all the planets align and the butterflies flap just the right way, Ophelia will have totally forgotten about those invasive pullets she scared away a few weeks ago. And peace will reign in the chicken yard.

And that's the word from this chicken total nonexpert. (Don't you love it when those of us with essentially no practical knowledge offer you advice?) Good luck!

Janice in GA said...

I was watching your chicken video with NASA-TV/Hubble recovery playing in another window.

That was strange.

Hockey Mom said...

Your delight in her anger is almost evil. I don't know which I loved hearing more, her angry bok or your evil laughter!

Thanks for sharing!

And, if you come to knit night tomorry, I might have a little something for ye.

Kim said...

Uh oh! Cranky chicken alert! Oh, and I love your wind chimes.