The Husband’s efforts to integrate our two flocks have paid off, if by integration he meant they’d share a yard while the Silkies go anywhere the big hens aren’t. To his credit, there are no fatalities to report. I was certain the Ladies harbored in their souls the panache for relentless, if not deadly, cruelty, but I underestimated their ability to grow bored. The hens took a few initial pot shots but now ignore the Silkies utterly save for the occasional peck on the head as a reminder that the fuzzy runts are to keep out from underfoot. More stimulating by far are the Silkies’ yard and henhouse, and twice I’ve found all six red hens crowded inside while the two little birds enjoyed a bit of tomato in peace at the opposite end of the yard. The new arrangement seems to be that the big girls help themselves to whatever they like and the little girls steer clear, and in this way our flock is integrated.
Silkies are indescribably obtuse – they’re afraid of strawberries for heaven’s sake – yet we have another victory to report: ours finally put themselves to bed at dusk instead of shivering in a huddle through wind and rain and making me swear. A burden off our shoulders with winter looming, to be sure.
The downside to all this integration is that my morning egg collecting has become an ordeal. Three hens now lay in the Silkies’ nesting box (after forcing the little ones noisily off their own property each morning, naturally), two lay in the compost pile (a habit formed during the Broody Pants scandal) and one dutifully lays in the henhouse. Eggs everywhere, but so far in predictable and accessible locals. Maybe once we batten down the hatches for winter the girls will adjust back to their proper spots.
As The Husband keeps saying, “Stop worrying. They’re chickens. They’ll figure it out.”