If you’ve spent anytime at all around a barnyard you’ve probably noticed that animals form bonds much like humans. Chickens are really no different! These two birds are our first Light Brahmas. They are a gentle giant that I attempted to try to start raising for the ability to have a “dual purpose” bird. The neighbors dog had other plans and essentially wiped out the whole flock except for these two survivors. We’ve named them Boots and Pearl and they are quite the pair!
We’re doing a lot of transitioning around here due to new coops, chicken yards going up and hatching new babies. These two were very traumatized after witnessing the mauling of their flock mates and narrowly escaping themselves. They are both very shy and back away from me when I come anywhere near them. I just moved them into the coop with seven other hens this weekend.
It has really been eye opening to see how close this little pair have become. Pearl is by his side with every step he takes. Boots places himself between the other hens and Pearl to protect her from the other girls and is always scouting for food for her by signaling her when he’s found a good morsel. I’m still feeding them out of a separate feeder until they are better integrated so they are all receiving adequate food and he guards that food from the other Buff Orpington hens until Pearl has had enough and then he backs off for them to eat. He really is quite chivalrous taking care of his girl the way he does!
I’ve integrated several chickens in to existing flocks and there are ways to make this a bit easier on the birds and yourself. One thing that is really important is to give them time with a fence between them to get to know each other. Throwing new chickens into a flock without them ever having seen each other is a recipe for disaster! The pecking order will be brutally fought after and you may even end up with some injured birds. This has been the easiest transition I’ve ever had. The dynamic of having Boots the peacemaker standing guard between Pearl and the other girls seems to be working out great! Soon when the new chicken yard is completed they will all be making the move into the Amish made coops that we just had built. Having integrated these two ahead of time will hopefully help cut down on some added stress during that time.
Most people don’t think about chickens forming bonds, but they do and they are really fun to watch