“You’ve long been on the open road, you’ve been sleepin’ in the rain.
From dirty words, and muddy cells your clothes are soiled and stained.
But the dirty words, and the mud of cells, will soon be judged insane,
So only stop and rest yourself, and you’ll be off again.” (Thirsty Boots lyrics)
If you have been following on Facebook you’ll know our chicken drama has not ended. It started with Calypso and her mystery illness and then Ripplin’ Waters with an intense pecking injury. Those 2 events were enough for me.
As it turns out though Flock Integration 2011 hasn’t been going to hot for some of the little gals. They were separated from the hens for about 4 weeks once they moved outside. Ripplin’ Waters ended up spending nearly a month in the basement utility sink (with frequent hangouts with me in the garden) convalescing after her attack.
While separated, all was well. Then we let both flocks mingle. I was fine with the usual random warning peck to just keep everyone in line and sort themselves out. Both of the Annies were frequently doing that and Calypso recently got in on the action. But Thirsty Boots was getting meaner. She was constantly chasing Ripplin’ Waters. Last week Lady Guitar II was added to her list of “Pullets I Must Terrorize.
Thirsty Boots pecked a few bald spots in that sweet fluffy head. Sadly (or fortunately?), LGII is a lover not a fighter and I found her with her head wedged between cinder blocks or boards. Sometimes her whole body was inside a sideways bucket. Anything to protect herself. She wouldn’t roost up at night and I would have to find her hiding spot to put her in the coop. The last straw was Thirsty Boots cracking LGII’s beak from pecking. I was livid. Nature-Schmature. We a strictly anti-bullying household and that extends to domestic farm animals. That chicken had to go.
I posted the ongoing story on Facebook and the Green Bean Chronicles shared a story of her Easter Egger hen, Butterscotch, that was horrid to her Blue Cochin, Puff. And finally she got rid of Butterscotch and the flock was much happier. Hearing that helped me realize I could actually just get rid our own Mean Girl.
Several people offered up to take her and she found a new home with my friend Annette at Sustainable Eats. We dropped her off (and got to meet her gorgeous Cayuga ducks) and bid farewell. She’ll do well in another flock. She is a great layer. Very quiet. Pretty. She just need a resorting of a pecking order.
We came home to find both the Annies, Calypso and Lady Guitar II greeting us in harmony at the gate. They was some reshuffling in the coop in regards to roosting spots. But I’m confident they’ll sort it out without cracked beaks or bald spots. As Green Bean Chronicles guessed, the flock breathed a “collective sigh of relief.”
Goodbye Thirsty Boots.
***Yes, Thirsty Boots is named after a John Denver song also. Not a song written by him, but sung by him. Which reminds me! All the new chicks are named so stay tuned for a naming. You won’t believe how they have grown!