Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, take my new hens for example; since my last post I’ve been really busy integrating hens (which can be a nightmare at times), unfortunately I’ve also had to nurse a very poorly one. Myrtle, my Bluebelle hen became ill not long after I got her, she had to be quarantined and needed meds from my vet, the good news is she’s slowly on the mend. Myrtle hasn’t been with the others for a long while and was leaning towards being bottom hen when she was, sadly, her chances of a smooth and peaceful return to the flock are minimal. The others have sorted their pecking order out and have bonded well, they will reject Myrtle now and view her as an outsider. The trouble is, she wasn’t with the flock long enough to form any firm friendships or find her place in the pecking order, instead, she’s petrified of being anywhere near them. The others will give her a hard time and stop her from eating etc, perhaps even cause her serious injury. I’m not being over dramatic, as much as I love keeping chickens they can be really cruel at times.
I’m going to try something else to suit Myrtle’s temperament and needs. Once she’s fitter I will have a go at integrating her with my old ex battery girls. I’d never normally advise integrating a lone hen but at the moment I haven’t got many options left. My old girls are very nice natured birds, they hardly squabbled when I first got them and there has never been a single peck since. I couldn’t tell you who is top hen and who is bottom, that’s how laid back they are. Due to battery cage injuries to their legs, two of my old girls won’t chase Myrtle, the other girl is fitter and would be the only real challenge. Being docile by nature, I’d be very surprised if Myrtle attacked back if she were to receive any pecking. I’m sure there will be some ‘argy-bargy’, but I’m confident that with a lot of supervision from me and plenty of mealworms I can bribe my gentle old girls into taking baby Myrtle under their wings. Eventually.
It’s a matter of baby steps, slowly, in the right direction. I will let you know how it goes.