Yesterday we decided to let the chicks out for the day. They had grown so much when Jon was in the hospital, it seemed they were big enough to be on their own. We originally planned to put them in the coop with the hens for a couple of days which would get them acclimated to their new home and they would then know where to go at night. But it was such a beautiful day and I couldn’t stand the thought of them all being locked up together inside.
They spent the day hanging around the lilac bush in front of my studio. Then, at dusk, when the hens hopped into the coop the chicks hopped into the crate in the barn where they’ve been living since we got them. I closed the door then reached in and caught them one at a time and put them in the coop with the hens. Both hens seemed to be roosting for the night so I closed the door on the four of them. I closed up the barn then opened the roof to the nesting box in the coop and peaked in.
Both chicks were huddled together in a corner, the white hen pecking at them. It looked like she was trying to go for their eyes but gave them a peck where ever she could. I watched for less than a minute before opening the door, pulling out the chicks and putting them in their crate in the barn.
I understand the idea of the pecking order, but there was no way I could leave those chicks in the coop with that hen pecking at them. I truly believe they would have been dead in the morning. And if not, if this is something they need to go through, then they’ll just have to wait until they’re bigger and I know they can defend themselves or at least have a fighting chance. I’m not into babying the chicks, but I don’t want to send them to slaughter either.