Monday, 12 December 2011

Integration Update

The serama have been in the Palace for three nights now, so I guess I'm committed. I peek in to the coop every so often, just to make sure none of the girls have harpooned Betsy to the wall with a specially sharpened talon, and so far so good. In fact, Betsy got quite brave this morning and even dared to make a grab for some stale bread I'd thrown in as a treat. Naturally, she got a sound duffing for her troubles, but her confidence seems to be growing.

Vera seems unbothered by her change of abode. She keeps a sensible distance from the narky pekins, but other than that just gets on with being a small fluffy chicken. Her apparent ease unsettles the pekin ladies. They like to see a bit of reverence and fear in their underlings. Unsure of how to tackle this new development, they tend to ignore Vera and focus their chickenny wrath on Betsy.

Betsy is fast, however. Much, much faster than a pekin in full waddle. She zig zags around her would-be tormentors, squawking her tiny head off. The noise is so astonishing that it frequently stops a pile on in its tracks. Of course, it helps that at this time of year chickens tend to be at their most lethargic. The long nights, the cold and the annual moult tend to put them off their stride somewhat. When I attempted integration in the summer, I had to abandon the idea as the pekins were in full feisty mode and I feared for the seramas' lives. Not now.

Last time, the charge on the miniscule chickens was lead by a fearsome Maeve. Now that we're in December, however, she really can't be bothered. If they wander too close they might get an ASBO Chicken special, aka a shrill growl and a puffing up of feathers. But she can't find the enthusiasm for giving chase of squashing anyone. Without their malevolent General to orchestrate chaos, the others have rather lost the taste for it. Well, all apart from Hilda.

Hilda still looks utterly ridiculous. She is no longer bald, but her sprouting feathers make her look a bit like a shuttlecock that a spiteful cat has been at. She seems to know that she looks like a berk, and to make sure that none of the other hens laugh at her, she has taken to attacking anyone that comes within range. Higher hens in the flock respond in kind, and she is getting in to a lot of fights. Poor Betsy and Vera bear the brunt of her filthy mood. Yet without back up, she is unable to do any real damage, and with Betsy able to run like a roadrunner while making a noise like a foghorn on helium, she's no real threat.

I always planned on having a united flock, so I very much hope that this works out. The serama have much more space in the Palace run than they do in their garage hutch, and they take up so little room they don't really impede on the others' space.

The only one who seems really put out is the pup, who very much enjoyed jumping up at the serama hutch and making them flap.

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