Meet our new chicken, Speedy. Isn’t (s)he cute?
Speedy is a transfer from friends of ours; she arrived last week at an estimated 7-8 weeks old. She had never seen another chicken, was loved on by five children and two parents, and pretty much thought (thinks) that she’s a human. Transitioning her to life with the flock has been challenging, but we keep on keepin’ on. She is by herself most of the time, as the other chickens freak her out. I try to let her out once or twice a day for an hour or two, supervised, to mingle with the other chickens. She mostly just hides in a corner and tucks her head down as far as she can. It’s really sad. The other chickens peck at her, but that’s totally normal. They do that to each other, as well, and the new chick is pretty much guaranteed to get some pecking. The thing is – she doesn’t fight back. She doesn’t even try sometimes. She just hides. Sometimes she at least runs away.
Speedy is pretty much a pet. She comes when called, jumps in your lap, likes to be held and petted, etc. When I let her out, she follows me and the kids, and stays as far away from the other chickens as possible. It’s completely endearing and we really like her. I really, really, really hope she turns out to be a she, and that she can get used to the other chickens in time. I’m willing to give it time. But if she’s a rooster, we might have to re-home her. We can’t have too many roosters around here, and I’d hate to turn such a nice chicken (who is so loved by her original family, and now us) into dinner if I don’t have to. For the time being, I’m willing to be patient and hope she at least learns to tolerate the other chickens.
The chickens had all been cooped up for nearly two days due to the hawk situation, so when my sister and niece were visiting this afternoon, we let them all out for some play time. We were outside, too, but I was still nervous. Then we got cold and went in, and I kept a watchful eye/ear on the field and woods, and thankfully, there were no hawk sightings. I don’t know what we’ll do long-term, but for today, all our chickens are happy and exercised. Except Speedy. I can’t let her out of the little cabin portion of the A-frame coop because the other chickens pick on her and she’s miserable, and I couldn’t let them out to range to give them more space. So she’s been largely alone for the last two days. I take her out and play with her when I feed and water the chickens, as unlike the rest of them, she comes when called and will go right back into her home. (I have never met a chicken like her. She’s like a puppy. She doesn’t even try to run away from me.) But I’d really like for her to make some friends so I can worry about her a little less. I tried locking her up with one of the most docile (fraidy cat) cockerels we have, but even he picked on her, and she just hid in the corner. Experiment over.
Just givin’ it time. Oh, and I posted over at BackyardChickens.com to inquire about her breed and gender, and most folks think she’s a Light Brahma cockerel – that is, NOT a she. But I still think she might be a she, so I’m sticking with feminine pronouns for the time being.