So the babies are growing by leaps and bounds. (excuse the mess, we tend to lean stuff against the coop cause it is right next to the garden)
There was no way all 15 of them, mama included, could be housed in that one little coop and run. We were on borrowed time. Then we also have the new run which currently houses 3. Yep, just 3.
So our first thought was that we would go ahead and split the flock layers/and meat birds. So being the novice chicken owners we are, but not crazy, we then read up on how to do this in order that there are no problems. First thing we read "Don't do it until the younger birds are the same size as the older ones", and " make sure they spend a while in proximity to, but not accessible to the original flock". Well just darn. That blew our plans out of the water. So we think we will just put mama hen back with the original flock. So read up on that too. Umm, yea, you have to treat the returning bird as if she had never been a part of the flock to begin with. Oh Joy. So we block off part of the run for the day and have her in one side and the other three in the other side. Things go well for the day. We had learned to put her in the coop at night while the other guys were asleep and things would go smoother. Okay here we go,. Hubby put her in the coop and immediately hears chaos ensuing. Real quick he opens the coop to see all three of the flock attacking the mama hen. Ungrateful little so and so's, some of those babies she had mothered weren't hers! That is not the right way to treat your babysitter. Just sayin. So he grabs her out and puts her back in to her part of the run. The next day, much to our Rooster(Garris) surprise, he is put into the run with her. Just him. We figured a one on one thing. He does well with her. No troubles. So next day we thought we would see how things went if we took the barrier down. We knew there would be some pecking and intimidation. Well there is this one red hen. Meanness should be her name. Well she takes a hunk, and I do mean hunk, out of her neck. Poor chicken ended up with a cut about 1/4 inch deep and about 1.5 in long. Problem with chickens is that if they ever draw blood they will peck the poor bird to death. So I get warm soapy water, triple antibiotic cream and a make shift bandage from an old t shirt sleeve. I thought she would fight me, but she didn't. I took her out and she sat in my lap while I dressed the wound. She even allowed me to put on a very awkward bandage. I put her back in the coop, this time separating out "meanness". Lets see how she likes being alone. Things went better, but the other red hen, though not as vicious, was keeping up the attack. Garris tried to intervene a few times, but for the most part he is hen pecked too. In addition the bandage was coming off leaving the wound open to continued attack. Early Wednesday morning, Dh goes out to see about the chickens. He opens the back of the coop apparently when the little mama hen was being attacked again. She ran right out the door and into his arms. He comes to the back door holding her and saying "Now what?" She is our best layer and the only one of our hens that has brooded. Not wanting to lose her! So we end up putting her back into the coop with the young chicks. She isn't as mean as the other hens were to her, but she has definitely taken over. She isn't hurting them, but she rules the roost. I have to admit though she is a bit of a bully. Just for kicks she will get up and run the chicks out of the coop (where they are all hiding) and the run them all back in again. I think she likes being top of the food chain again. But the chicks are getting braver by the day, and she is letting the chicks come in and out of the coop at will. Her neck is healing now since it is left alone. Problem is we are back to where we started from. We are planning on selling about 5 of the new flock which will help space wise. Once the new hens start laying, those two red hens will be on my it list, but right now we need the eggs. So their sentence is postponed....for now.