This is a follow-up to my last post, in which I was noted that the Littles were looking like feathered sardines in the grow-up coop.
My initial plan had been to keep them all separated for another 2-3 weeks, but after some comments from various people, I started to rethink it.
Yesterday morning, I opened the door and let the Littles go outside into the pasture with the bog flock. I was nervous, and watched them all closely for not only harassment, but in case they were harassing Claire’s Wee Ones.
There was some feather-pulling and a lot of squawking, but there was no overt harassment.
The Littles divided their time between their tunnels (a safe zone) and the run for most of the day. By the end of day, more of them were venturing into the broader pasture.
Claire kept her babies near the run and barn steps, and Dots and the older girls hung out in the pasture.
There was some intermingling as the hens went to lay eggs and Claire moved about with her babies.
Dots came into the run at one point to ‘check out these new kids.’ He walked right up to the four biggest roosters -three Buff Orpingtons and one Australorp – and presented himself to them. He bucked and growled and then turned and walked off. I figure that means he has deemed them to be non-threatening.
When I checked back with them at bedtime, four of the Rhode Island Red hens were sleeping on roosts with the Littles.
No one was injured, no one was killed. Everyone was tucked in sleepy and ready for bed.
This was a far cry from last year when Gold Boy tried to kill one of the little RiRs by forcing it into a corner and pecking without mercy until DH and I pulled him off the poor thing.
It was only supposed to be a trial run, to see how they’d do, but I think I’m letting this Integration stand.
Here are some pictures yesterday’s adventure.