44 Chicks

Our two flocks of baby birds became one flock today.  26 chicks from Greenfire Farms and the surviving 18 chicks from MyPetChicken.com.  They’re two weeks old now, and all healthy, so it’s safe to combine them.  This way, they’ll all get to know each other and work out their pecking order most seamlessly, growing up as one friendly flock.

They now have an entire stall as their world, instead of the two brooder enclosures.  I prepped the stall with sand and pine shavings, and set up fresh food and water stations.  In the meantime, I’d temporarily put the 18 in with the 26, one big bustle of 44 hopping and peeping balls of fluffy down and little emerging wing feathers.  (Ridiculous cute btw!!)

Philosophy and chickens.  Do we realize how our limitations shape us, even when they’re no longer there?  I carefully removed the wire of the brooder enclosure.  All 44 chickens were now free to go anywhere they liked in the stall.  But for a very long time, they stayed in the same oval where the wire had been, as though it was still there.  An invisible barrier of habit and shared behavior, even for those who had been in that particular enclosure for all of 5 minutes.

I know what happens next.  One, then a few, then suddenly the whole hopping crowd, start exploring the entire stall.  Some sunny day, when they’re bigger and older, they move out to the chicken tractor to experience grass and breezes.  A week or so after that, we open the free-range door, and it takes half a day for anyone to venture out.  Then, days to go much beyond the perimeter.  And then, one afternoon (like just happened with our little “pre-teens” this week), they’re suddenly all the way to the hedge.  Then marching around the orchard, mixing with the dogs, owning the place.  Step by step.


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