The Ladies Move In

I’ve been laying the groundwork for the Ladies to join the flock of Gems. They’ve free-ranged together. I encouraged mingling by tossing corn on the lawn.

Next, I put the Ladies inside of the coop so that they could get to know their new digs.



Meanwhile, the Gems were out on the lawn.



The next day, I cleaned out the Big Barn. I shoveled out all of the old bedding and then used a blower to get the dust out of every nook and cranny. (This is my new favorite cleaning tool! Despite frequent swipes with a broom, and a once-a-year thorough vacuuming, surfaces were thick with dust. If you do this, use a face mask and protective glasses!)



I put down a thick layer of fresh Koop Clean. The hens love this bedding, and I knew that they’d be so overjoyed at the prospect of scratching in it, that they wouldn’t bother their new roommates.

I carried the Ladies over to the Big Barn and tucked them inside, and then I invited the Gems in to meet them on their home turf.

open door


At first the Koop Clean was so distracting, that no one cared about the interlopers.



The Ladies went outside before anyone noticed them. For awhile they stuck together.

ladies together


But then the pumpkin that I’d put out provided a distraction (as I knew it would.)



Soon, everyone was milling around. No drama.



At nightfall, the Gems went to their normal places on the roost, and then the Ladies climbed up and settled down.


So far, so good. I expect a few skirmished as the chickens realize that there’s a new pecking order to be sorted out, but I don’t think that it will be too bad.

Phoebe, by the way, is enjoying having the Little Barn to herself. More on that in another post!


  1. Well done, it looks like it went very smoothly. It will be so good for you to have them in one barn over the winter months. I look forward to seeing how they settle.

  2. It’s always a blessing when integration goes smoothly. A celebratory cup of coffee and a pat on the back is a must. Congrats, Terry, on a smooth transition! My broody hens gave me seven new chicks this summer, a few weeks apart. I’ve been integrating for several weeks and they are just getting used to each other. The other night, the flock was getting settled in and one of my new additions (Australorp, 20 weeks old) was trying to fly up onto a storage shelf in the coop. She missed the shelf and landed on the top roost, right between the rooster and the queen hen of the coop. I don’t know who was more shocked. They all just stood very still for several seconds, as if holding their breath and waiting for the pouncing to begin. Much to my surprise, the Australorp hopped down to the lower roost, the king and queen settled in and all was right with the world. I went inside for a hot cup of decaf. :)

  3. I peeked in yesterday and was feeling your satisfaction in preparing their nice fresh environment for them to have before winter sets in. Playing house with chickens is so much fun! Yes that blower does now seem like something I will look into to add to the joy. My old shop-vac is just not nearly powerful enough to suck all the dust off the tiny squares of stucco wire like I would like to see. Anything to make the job go smoother so I can spend more time just admiring the clean house and then watch the chickens as they come in for inspection.

  4. I’m glad it all went so well for you and I’m sure your gradual introductions in neutral territory had a lot to do with how the integration went without incident. I think the Gems deserve credit too: it helps that the Gems are such a special flock.
    Now that Phoebe is on her own in the little barn, do you think she’ll miss the extra heat that the Ladies generated this winter?

    • Maybe Phoebe could bunk with Pip and Caper this winter. That way, she’d have company and extra body heat from the boys, and barn chores would be conveniently all in one building. :-)

  5. I am with Tracy, maybe Phoebe will need a friend. The winter can get long and lonely.

  6. I guess we are all wondering what will happen to Phoebe? Isn’t she missing her bedding? And her company? Is she going to move with the ladies? f

  7. Congratulations on the successful merger. I’ve been watching with interest.

    Did you know (you probably do) that one of your hens (a Gem) sometimes descends from the roost by sliding down the side rail of the ladder? She looks just like a kid on a snowboard, turned slightly sideways, one foot behind the other. Very jazzy! I don’t know who it is…it’s always pretty dark when they wake up, but she is dark colored and has one of the larger combs. It is so funny!

    Love watching – Thanks

    • I didn’t know that! Were you watching the first night? The Ladies weren’t used to the spacing of the ladder rungs. They were quite awkward as they tried to find their places.

    • I saw that too! When I opened up the barn yesterday morning I saw one of the Ladies (I think) doing just that. Quite amusing. I’ll try and pay attention next time and figure out who it is.