Ginger was getting increasingly bored in her new digs (the bathroom) and was not impressed with the television anymore and was flying around so we thought it might be time to reintroduce her to the chickies outside. I had attempted to do so a few days prior and stood out there worried and watching. The chicks were not mean to her but they were curious, and when chicks are curious they peck. They pecked at the tender new skin and scab on her neck. In a minute she was blocked into a corner. Back in the house she went.
So this time we fastened a fashionable neck brace to her. A cotton pad and sports tape would protect her from pecking and still allow her to be outdoors. With her big hat of feathers and her new cuff she looked like one of my pilgrim ancestors. We took her outside and set her down. For a second she stood there then started dancing around. She looked like she had been slain in the spirit! She was flapping her wings, and bobbing her head, and bouncing around. I thought she had come to Jesus. We were laughing until we started worrying she might break her little neck with the violent do-si-do she was acting out. I took the brace off and set her back down. It was like we just placed her in a sea of warm water. She buried herself in the pine shavings, flapping her wings, back stroking, doing the chicken bath, spraying her siblings with hay and shavings. She was so happy. This little incident has left her half the size of the other chicks. She is a little bugger. But the others seemed happy to have her back and I let her play with them. I think they will be fine. I kept checking on them throughout the day and early this morning to make sure one of the big, bossy chickens hadn’t rediscovered her neck. All is peaceful in chickenville.
The chicks have been afraid of the great outdoors beyond the dark coop. Only a few have ventured out the small chicken door and only for a few inches. I have propped the large door open the past few days and locked the big girls out to inspire the chickies to explore their new surroundings. They would bask in the sun in the doorway but no real exploring outdoors. Yesterday evening I passed by and there were all ten chicks playing and singing around the pen. Happy as Christmas morning. They were enjoying the dusk and the warm air. When I went out later to close everyone up, the big chicks had already gone in and were on their roosts ready for bed. Ginger and her new friend, Sophia, were up on their own perch cuddling and three other babies had made it back to the dog kennel that is their shelter from grown chicken tyrants. The other five were in a cooing bundle, piled together in a warm ball outside, behind the propped open door. Apparently we had gotten lost behind the giant door and could not find our way back into the coop!
The grown chickens are still a little hostile to the babies but the babies seem a little less petrified of them and it seems that we will have peace in the coop. Amen.