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Violet Frances

Alberta’s nit-picky neat-freakiness + Frances’s submissive desire to relax and let it all hang out + boredom from having to spend most of their time in a guinea pig cage waiting for their new big sister to accept their presence = a back plucked raw of feathers. 😦

Can’t a girl get a break? Why are chickens so mean to each other? Do I now have 3 chickens that supposedly want to be together, but would possibly be better off living separately?

I’ve coated Frances with Blu-Kot to heal her wounds, hopefully prevent more injury, and give her a stylish new punk-rock look, and I plan to try to give them more entertainment (things to peck at) during their many hours they have to spend in their cage, and I spent several hours today playing mother hen, so the little ones could free range in the backyard and get some much needed exercise and entertainment, managing to keep Gloria away with a rake… despite her seeming desire to occasionally charge at them. They are just too vulnerable right now, especially poor Frances. But I’m exhausted and discouraged. This little integration experiment is turning out just as stressful as I feared. I’m not sure how any of us can keep this up for another 3-4 weeks.

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12 thoughts on “Violet Frances

  1. Oops, naked chickens are not nice. But new feathers will come in when she moults. In fact she seems to have new ones already?

    You could try a chicken saddle. Mine didn’t stop Henny from going bald but it protected her from sun burn and freezing (when it didn’t fall off). Do you think she’s pulling out her own feathers or is her cell mate doing it?

    I have a bad feeling that we softies make chicken integration harder than it is on farms with people who just throw animals together. They seem to get things sorted out in those scenarios. Of course there’s the odd tale of the random bird being killed that makes me think that patience is the better way for we softies!

    Good luck with it.

    • Thank you! She actually came from the store with missing feathers… it was true for many of the chicks there that had just been moved from too-small cages, but she started growing them back quickly in the next couple of days… so I hoped that was why, but then the last couple of days she started losing them again. I can’t tell who is doing the plucking, but I suspect it’s both of them. Alberta pecks her quite a bit, but it seems quick, not pulling. Frances does seem to be preening herself pretty hard, and she seems like a worrier, so maybe it’s like a person chewing their fingernails? She’s super freaked out by Gloria whenever she gets close, and that seems to only make things worse between them… so maybe she’s stressed out? Poor thing. She melts into my hands (and Mae’s) when we hold her though, especially if we start humming. She does this little purring hum along with us, it’s very cute.

    • The saddle is a good idea, if the Blu-kot doesn’t do the trick. Thanks! And yes, I’m probably making it harder than it needs to be. Gloria seems pretty confused by the whole thing. Are they my chicks? It seems like it. But if so, why do I keep leaving them with her (in their cage). Do I expect her to babysit? That really stresses her out and she squawks like mad. But they are too small to be unsupervised, even if she accepted them. We have too many visiting stray cats for comfort. 😦

  2. Oh dear. I guess it was so much easier for me as I had a mama hen to look after the chicks.
    Also, I had two coops so I didn’t need to worry about having to get the little ones outside before I felt they could manage. Good luck. I wish I has some magic answers.

  3. The chicken lady at the local feed store advised us to put the young pullets (10-12 weeks old) in the coop one night after the older chickens had gone to sleep. She said they would all awake in the morning and just assume their flock had grown. We had tried the side-by-side integration and it wasn’t working so we followed her suggestion. The first month or so, the young pullets kept to themselves and ran around in their own separate little flock, sneaking food and water when the big hens moved away to scratch in the dirt. They are now about 4 months old and pretty much get along with each other. One of our Silkies has decided they are a rooster though so now we are trying to decide if we can handle 2 roosters or if we want to get back down to just our lovely white Golden Sex Link roster. They have pretty much figured out a pecking order and we are glad. It was much easier this year integrating the two groups together. We have one hen sitting and I’m hoping we won’t have to go through the whole baby raising process every spring to get a few new hens to integrate into our flock. Hang in there. They will figure it out. My first two years I was way stressed about the whole process but this worked great!

  4. Oh dear! Sorry this has been so stressful. Maybe you should just try going for it and letting them all live together and hash it out. There will be some fighting, but as long as Gloria doesn’t bully them relentlessly it might be fine.
    I think fewer chickens is harder than a larger flock.
    Hope it all gets less stressful soon!

  5. Hi Melissa! Just catching up on your posts after packing our apartment up in Texas and taking a very long road trip back to Portland. Sorry to hear about Cleo and the recent stressful integration 😦 I hope things settle down soon!

    • Thank you! I “think” it’s starting to look more hopeful on the chicken front… I’m planning a new post soon.

      I’d love to get together sometime after you get settled! We could do some spinning or knitting. 🙂 I’m sure the girls would love to see each other too.

      • I’d love to get together! That would be fantastic! And, yes, the girls would love it too! 🙂

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