Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Poppy Seed and Princess

Poppy Seed

Our older hen Poppy Seed and our young hen, Princess, paired off and have become good buddies in our Basque flock.  The other hens are still very mean to Poppy Seed.  They also try to peck on Princess but she is too quick to catch for them and runs circles around them. 

  Today I went out at mid-day and it was very hot.  I noticed the Basque hens had taken up a resting spot right next to the water in the shade.  Poppy Seed and Princess were hiding under some shade boards on the other side of the coop, but seemed to be panting heavily and miserable.  So I took the water bucket and tried to give it to them.  The other Basque hens did not like this and tried to crowd me, but I shooed them away time and time again.  After they had many failed attempts at getting their bucket back, they gave up and left me and Poppy Seed and Princess alone.  When the two birds noticed the other hens leave, they immediately helped themselves to the water.  Then they dared to walk towards the feeder.  Wow, you would think they tried to steal precious gems from the other hens or something!  The other hens rushed in and started to peck the outcasts and soon had beaks full of feathers.  I thought Poppy Seed and Princess would run off for sure, but no, they ran in a circle, getting pecked, and then straight towards me.  Poppy Seed stopped right under my legs, and Princess, she stopped in front of me, looked up and paused for maybe 3 seconds to give me fair warning, and then jumped right into my arms, and up onto my shoulders. 

Well, what could I do?  I walked both hens out of the field and let them stay in the play-yard.  They got fresh, cold water and a shady flower bed all to themselves, which they immediately dug into and made a bed for themselves to lie in. 

Yes, that is nice for them for this afternoon, but they cannot always stay in my backyard.  I prefer a play area for my kids that is chicken-poop free.  So how can I get the Basque flock to adopt the two cast-aways?  I know the pecking order has to be established, but how long should that take and when does the pecking show-down stop?

I hope I will be able to give you better updates later on these two.