Our new chickens and our old chickens aren't getting on too well, so when Stella returned with Doris we kept them apart from the old hens, re-introducing Meg after a week and a week later they were getting on pretty well.
The older chickens are in the old run on the patio and we would quite like the patio back. We'd had hopes of the odd barbecue.
So, we took the old hens up to visit the new ones some evenings the week before last and last weekend we decided to integrate Fudge and Frodo (should that have been Freda?). We let them make their own way up, but they did get a bit sidetracked.
Eventually we managed to pick Fudge up and Frodo started to follow.
Unfortunately Doris in particular was getting it in the neck quite badly, literally. Frodo and Fudge have both been tugging at her neck feathers, sometimes jumping/flying up for greater effect/pain. So, Fudge went back to the old hen house on Monday morning. At least Doris would only have half the stress and we hoped it would reduce after a week. I don't want another young chicken with a prolapse. Also, we've kept Fudge on short rations - plenty of pellets and some cabbage but reduced worms and corn - as she could do with losing some weight.
Unfortunately by the end of the week things seemed to be getting worse, not better, as we noticed Frodo seemed to be chasing all the young chickens back and forth, so that although we'd put a feeder and a drinker at both ends she seemed to be stopping them having enough to eat or drink.
On Friday I gave the young birds some extra worms and pellets after shutting Frodo back in the run and they had a good feed. They always love worms, but they usually find pellets pretty boring when there is grass to eat, so it did seem they were more hungry and usual. Also we had no egg from Stella for 4 days and I noticed small black dots on her comb, hopefully a sign that she was being pecked there and not that she was dehydrated. I must admit I've forgotten to check since.
So on Saturday morning we took Frodo back to the old chicken house on the patio. At least Fudge has some company and I think Frodo herself may prefer what she knows. It's possible she finds the young chickens stressful, although her eggs have got a bit smaller since we moved her. In time we hope to make the pen around the hen house on the grass big enough to put the old ark in, without the extra run. Then at least the old chickens can get out on the grass and enjoy a dust bath again.