It ain’t easy being a chick, especially if you’re running with the Big Birds for the first time.
That’s what my little birds learned the hard way today. They’d been spending their days staring plaintively through the mesh of their chicken tractor–a cage within the large chicken pen where they can get some fresh air without being pecked to death by the adults. (It’s amazing how plaintive a creature with beady little eyes can look when she wants to.)
Well, they got their wish. Paul and Sage took the tractor into Paul’s shop for some repairs, and we decided to let the little birds out into the pen during the operation. They were disconcerted at first, and then they wandered over to the pen’s fence to look plaintively out of THAT. Chickens just want it all…
Their peaceful contemplation of the outside world didn’t last long; the adults soon caught wind of the intruders and began the chase. The chickens I bought from our Amish neighbor–much smaller than the others–were especially delighted to realize they’d been promoted from the bottom of the pecking order to somewhere in the middle. They lunged enthusiastically at the chicks, beaks outstretched. I was especially afraid that Amber’s head wound, which is almost completely healed, would get re-opened.
Fortunately, the pen is large and has plenty of motherwort to provide shelter, so the chicks were able to dodge away from the adults. They were none too happy about their perilous new freedom, though, and they were surprisingly docile when Sage and I caught them and put them back into the newly repaired chicken tractor.
I guess you have to beware of what you wish for. Especially if you’re a chicken.