It's finally happened. It's only taken a few months, endless patience and the destruction of my greenhouse, and we now have a complete flock! Maeve has been accepted into the fold. I have even observed her preening Belinda. I am a happy chicken keeper.
Naturally, she's made to sleep on the floor with the poo. She is also occasionally given a peck as she ambles past, and is often chased away from the treats. However, she has not been duffed up in any great way, so they must secretly like her. Mini is pretty much in the same boat, so the little splash hen and the little (alleged) mottled pullet have formed a shaky alliance. It's quite sweet, really.
Having all of the girls in the convent has helped with the husbandry side of things, too. Maeve's mini coop has been relegated to the garage to be used as a hospital wing if needed, and my growbags are safe from the feathery vandal that had been occupying my greenhouse. Bliss.
The red mite issue seems to have resolved itself with a liberal sprinkling of red mite powder and a thorough clean. However, I'm not being complacent as I know that the evil beasties are never too far away.
We are currently broody, illness and beastie free.
I wait with baited breath for the next disaster.