First we moved Chloe and her brood into the duck run with the others. I’ve been reading up and asking questions on whether we should mix the young or not, and have heard of drakes attacking the ducklings. Cap’n Speck has been very attentive through the fence – but it is difficult to know how much that is being fatherly or how much wanting his mate back… So we penned them in, which is a shame in a way as it was lovely seeing the ducklings running about the greenery, but hopefully it will only be for a short time. We thought we would wait until the white ducks were gone, and then do a supervised visit. So far he is doing everything right, and even has abandoned his perch to sleep next to them.
They might have a point now, alas, as their time is up.
Chloe made way for the growers, now 17 weeks old. All but one of the Barnevelder pullets were sold, and we are left with one to join our flock, the trio of cuckoo marans and some cockerels to fatten up. Ultimately the run will be the meat bird breeding run, and the cuckoo marans are the foundation of that plan.
We had a smaller hatch after that (I find it hard not to use a broody), but not having enough runs, they were eventually let out into the main flock. It will be interesting to see how that pans out (in particular re weight at 20 weeks), it was the nicest way of intergrating them, they stayed with their mum and she gradually abandoned them, and the adult chickens and cockerel seem to make allowances for the young ones. They form their own little flock within the flock, but mix in happily
Now the 17 week olds have vacated the growers run, we were able to move on the youngsters, who were in two pens with their foster mums. We moved the hens out back to the main flock, and the little ones were put back together as one group. They are still young, so no fighting broke out. Only one of the foster mums seems a little put out (the other one did not give so much as a backward glance!) but she seems happy to cluck at them through the fence, whilst they completely ignore her.. they have all this space and they are charging about making the most of it!