Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Feathered Friends

Because the smell in the guest room was becoming unbearable, I decided to put the youngest chicks out in the chicken house. I spent over an hour stapling wire fencing to seal off part of the coup for the newcomers. I was afraid the older ones would feel invaded and pick on the babies. I didn't take individual personalities into account. Poppy, Pansy, and Petunia have always shown a lot of bravado and this situation was no exception. When I tried to get them into their own space, they darted out of my grasp and took over the coop. They strutted around, kicked up the sawdust, ate the food and drank the water. Lily, Lilac, and Lupine cowered in the back corner, watching the newcomers make themselves at home. When they were chased, the older girls fed to the area I had set aside for the new occupants, trying to become invisible.

I must admit I felt bad for the older ones. They are so kind and gentle, leading a quiet, serene life. Then suddenly a band of ruffians comes along and upsets the calm. I sat in the doorway of the coop and watched for quite a while, ripping out all the chicken wire I had just stapled. It was obvious that separate quarters were not necessary. Gradually they all began to eye one another, tentatively circling. In an amazingly short period of time it was as if they had always been together. I didn't notice and bullying. They seemed to settle in as equals.

This has been a very engrossing and wonderful experience. I'm predicting sadly that before long they will cease to be my babies. Without the numerous daily visits to insure their well-being, the constant experiments with different ways to provide food and water, the worry about temperature and light, the delight with every new feather, the thrill of having them eat out of my hand......... will they melt into a single entity called a flock? Will I become unable to tell them apart? stop noticing their individual personalities?

Hopefully not......probably not.
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