We currently have 10 hens that are a mixture of 4 groups, stretching from one of our original hybrids we got in May 2014, White, to the 3 Barred Rock hens that I got for Sarah at Christmas 2016, Eve, Ivy and Merry. There are 2 groups of rescue hens also; Brambles, Hazel and Pumpkin from September 2015 and Pip, Ruby and Willow from September 2016.
These hens have been through a lot of integrations and due to the Avian Influenza restrictions, Eve, Ivy and Merry spent the first 3 months of their life with us confined indoors to a barn. Even more satisfying and rewarding for us then that for the last month at least, this group of 10 hens that span a large age spectrum, and different backgrounds are living together very happily and contentedly.
In the past it’s been very obvious the group to which a hen belongs, as these groups tent to stick together, and this is still true, but less so than before. We see these hens behaving as a flock, they’re past the acceptance stage and will happily dustbathe together, feed together, and while away the afternoons digging holes together. When we approach their fenced area, all 10 gather together at the corner we’re going to approach and move together towards the gate, to see what treat we’ve brought them.
There will be a pecking order, but it’s not visibly obvious – apart from Willow at the very bottom – and there’s no real fighting between the hens. Long may this happiness of the flock last!