There are a few things that your memory downplays about raising chicks from day old. First, the fine dust that covers, literally, everything. Where does it all come from? Second, no matter how clean you try to keep their pen, the smell is not, shall we say, rosy. Our girls are about 8 weeks old at this point and needed more space and we really needed our shed back; it was time to be introduced to the big girls.
We partitioned the coop to give the pullets a safe place to be while the big girls get used to them. Then we fenced off a decent sized run within the chicken yard so they have a safe place to explore the world and the big chickens can’t pick on them. In case you weren’t aware, chickens (well, most birds really) can be really mean. If we just threw new pullets in the coop and walked away, we may very well find dead chickens later on. The chicken hierarchy is very well established and hard won. They do not take kindly to usurpers invading their territory.
So here we are. We put each pullet in their new coop, taking care to clip each one’s wing – only one side – so that they will stay on their side of the partition; good fences make good neighbors, after all. The top hen, Cici, has made it quite clear to all involved (loudly I might add) that she is less than happy with the situation but I’m confident that in a weeks time she will accept the newcomers with grace and dignity (actually, chickens are neither graceful nor are they dignified).
The girls seem to be pretty happy with their new setup and have been exploring their yard with excitement. Hopefully, in a weeks time, we will have a happy, integrated flock and the partitions can come down!