Moving Day.
The chicks get sent to the big house.

I remember years ago Martha Stewart had an episode where she was cooking something with eggs.  It was her original show where she was standoffish and quite scary (the way I like her) not the newer Martha show where she was forced to act kind of human.

As she was running down the list of ingredients she got to the eggs and said, “Just go out to your coop and gather some fresh eggs from your chickens.”.  I laughed and laughed.

Fresh eggs from your chickens.  From your coop.  Right Martha.  You idiot.

And then about 2 decades later, this happened to me.






I’m an idiot too.




This is my second flock of chicks, the Black Copper Marans,  which I now have to somehow integrate with my original,  older flock.

To integrate my flock a little bit faster and get them out of my shed, I decided to group everyone together but have them separated so my older hens can’t attack my smaller chicks.  Hens are vicious and could easily tear these smaller chicks apart.  Literally.  They will peck, scratch and gouge them until they’re dead.




But I can’t have them living in the shed anymore and the faster I get everyone used to each other the better. So last week I moved the chicks into the big girl coop.  They no longer needed to be under the heat light because they have their adult feathers now to insulate them, plus it’s warm(ish) out.




Cuddles, Walnut and Cheez Whiz had no idea what was coming.  By the way, I totally photoshopped out Cuddles poopy bum so you didn’t have to look at it.  My chickens have poopy bums like everyone elses.





The first step in integration was to lock the bigger hens into the coop.  That way I could release the smaller chicks into the outdoor run without anyone being able to attack anyone else.




The little ones took a look at the big hens and promptly ignored them and went about trying to eat straw.





The older flock were interested in these weird black things but didn’t seem upset by them.  They may not even recognize them as chickens since they’re a completely different size and a completely different colour.  They’ve only seen each other you see, and they’re large and brownish/red.




Earlier I had put up a piece of hardware cloth to cut the size of the indoor run in half.  That way the big hens would still have access to and from their roost in the “upstairs” as well as the nesting box that’s up there.  And the chicks would have their own safe room, in the back half of the lower run.




There’s access and doors to the chicks portion so they get lots of light.  I have a screen that fits in the space perfectly so they have natural light and an see outside all day.  Plus I lock the big hens up once a day so I can let the little chicks out for a run.




While the big hens were still locked up I corralled the smaller Black Copper Marans into their new quarters.  The big hens looked on.




Once the little ones were secure in their portion of the coop, I let the big hens out again.  They ran/flew out in a flurry of feathers and ground to a halt in front of the chicks new coop.




The chicks managed to remain terrified at the back of their coop for a full 30 seconds.



Once the half minute of terror was over, they ran to the front of the cage to introduce themselves.






Nobody screamed, nobody squawked.  Everyone was well mannered and pleasant.





I’ll keep everyone like this for the next couple of weeks until the smaller chicks are big enough to defend themselves if they have to. Once I can tell everyone is getting along (as well as can be expected) I’ll take down the hardware cloth that separates them. It went fine with the Berlin wall, so I imagine this should go fairly smoothly. Although it probably won’t.

Then it’ll be onto the next integration. Goats.

Just kidding.

Speaking of which, did you ever see the episode where Martha went out and got Goat’s milk from her goat for making cheese? Just ran out and milked her goat. LOL. Milked her goat for fresh goat’s milk.


Oh crap.


  1. FarmGirl62 says:

    You didn’t realize that chickens are the gateway drug to goats? Oh. I’m so sorry.

    WHEN you get your goats, remember to get 2 because they are herd animals and will cry all day if left alone. In town, the best dairy goats (because you will be milking them, right?) are Nigerian Dwarf goats – they are smaller, give excellent milk and are pretty gentle. Ask me how I know. Go ahead. I got chickens many years ago and am currently expecting BOTH of my Nigerian Dwarf does (Chamay and Sassy) to kid any day. Every morning I open the door to the goat house and check to see if everyone is still pregnant. One day soon . . . they won’t be. Hopefully, I’ll be there when the event happens. I almost missed last time and was heading out the front door when they literally started yelling their heads off. I rushed to the backyard and baby goats were popping out of Chamay right on top of one another. Easiest birth I ever saw.

    Enjoy your goats. :)

    • Karen says:

      LOL. NOOO! I can’t have goats! I live in the middle of town, lol. They’d be bouncing off of everyone’s cars. Although. That does sound kind of cute in a demolition kind of way. ~ karen!

      • FarmGirl62 says:

        Oh, that’s right! I forgot to mention that I live in the middle of town, too! LOL

        Just build your fence 6′ tall and remember to get the Nigerian Dwarf goats – they’ll stay in there just fine.


  2. michele says:

    Aah Maria don’t be too sure Cluck Norris is a boy, I had a hen who crowed, yep full on crow on top of the coop, full throttle at dawn, really spooked me first time I heard it as I’d given away the stroppy cockerel.
    Best way to introduce chicks to coop is in the dead of night, just pop them on the perch while they’re sleeping, next day out they all run like they’ve always been together, bless their short-term memories.By the way I now have workshop envy.

  3. Linda says:

    Love the post Karen (as usual). I keep stopping any chicken ideas at the thought of predators getting to my pet chickens. Your coop looks really strong and built for efficient upkeep. Would it be possible to get a sketch of the whole thing? I’m not very good at putting together a mental image from multiple pictures.

  4. Kaitlyn says:

    Ha. I started out with chickens too. Two years later and I’ve somehow ended up with goats and a rabbit to go along with the chickens. It’s a slippery slope.

  5. nancy w says:

    Love this post! Two of my neighbors have chickens, and one is about to integrate new chicks into their flock of 3. (they now subscribe, after me sending your posts along so often) The pecking order is pretty brutal in both coops!

    We’ve had raccoon raids every so often, it’s gory and sad, one time they only left a trail of feathers. So we all make sure those chicken coops are latched at night…every day the chickens are fun to watch and the chicken keep-away game is my favorite lunchtime entertainment.

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  7. Tracey says:

    Ah, I just loved this post Karen! Thanks

  8. Mother ship says:

    Great photos!
    In the 2 times I integrated new chickens it was easy!!
    1st time- if you’re lucky – you’ll have a broody hen-
    We added on a second chicken condo with a chicken wire wall Btwn them- & transferred her over to the new nesting box (made it bigger with a board across the front bottom so any potential chicks wouldn’t fall out) when it was obvious she was still broody – we put some fertilized eggs under her- 21 days later 4 out of the 7 hatched- when they started coming out of the box by themselves – we let them out – the mom did ALL of the work… Protecting/ keeping them warm/ etc- it was fab! When they grew up we took down the dividing wall & they all intermingled at night too.
    About a year ago – after a raccoon raid & losing one to illness- we got 4 more – they were about 3-4 weeks old – already sexed, & ready for outside life – just put back up the dividing chicken wire & put the babies in the next door condo- after about a week stretched a long piece o chicken wire across the yard & let both sides out on their own sides… One week after that – I noticed one of the babies was getting over the outside barrier & hanging with the big girls (she’s now 2nd alpha!) nobody seemed to care! So much to my honey’s chagrin – I let them mingle- the babies were still 1/2 size . They still slept in their separate condos- when they were grown we took down the inside divider & they now all roost on one side…
    I think because of the dividing screen much like you have- it gave them time to get used to each other & establish pecking order without actually pecking!
    It’s Soo cool to watch nature at work- 3-4 months ago, we fostered a newborn bluejay – it survived & is now in our yard – it hangs with the chickens & eats their food & gets in their faces if they get too close- (does not roost with them though) –
    Is freakin hilarious to watch!!

  9. Laura Bee says:

    Only you could make something like this interesting & hilarious. Great photos! Hope the raccoon does not return. That coop is built strong – if it actually tried to get in you would probably hear the commotion from the girls before it got into the coop. Could you keep the coop cam set up like a baby monitor?

  10. Janet says:

    You have the best blog in America and your posts are so timely. Thanks! We are seriously considering goats because we have lots of weeds, and so we can laugh every day too

  11. Kat says:

    I have been known to run out and milk a goat to make cheese.
    I have been known to run out and pick lavender to put in the cheese.
    This happened yesterday.

  12. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I hope they all decide to get along for your sake Karen..did you really get a goat..I remember the goats at the petting zoo in Marineland when we where visiting the falls..they tried to eat my sons t-shirt..on his body..I found that quite

  13. Shauna says:

    Lost a chicken on Sunday:( We think it was a raccoon, and we think our dog saved the rest of the flock (I had seen a raccoon on the sidewalk in the middle of the afternoon earlier in the week. I am actually hoping it was a raccoon because the alternative is that it was our dog. But, she’s never shown any aggression or even playfulness towards them and the eggs were eaten out of the nest box. And, the chicken didn’t have any bite marks (our dog still has her sharp puppy teeth), just a broken neck. And, the rest of the chickens are skittish around the dog at all. Not sure if that means it wasn’t her, or that chickens truly are stupid.

    I’ve lost a chicken due to illness before, but never like this. It’s harder like this. She’s currently in the freezer. I don’t know what to do with her to be honest. I usually bury, but don’t want her dug up and feel terrible about just tossing her in the trash. But, I NEED to get her out of the freezer before someone thinks I’m truly a crazy chicken lady.

    So, I need to get new chickens and I think I want to go with chicks this time. This is a good post to get me thinking how I will separate them once it’s time to integrate them. Once again, your post is very timely for me.

    • Shauna says:

      aren’t skittish – the chickens aren’t skittish around the dog. oy

    • Karen says:

      Oh that’s awful. Terrible! It’s so sad to see them like that and that would definitely be shocking. I saw raccoon mud prints on the side of my coop a couple of weeks ago and I’m still worried about it. I’m very sorry you lost your chicken that way. I’m sure it was the raccoon if they eggs were tampered with. :( ~ karen

    • Pam'a says:

      You might check with a local veterinarian to see if they’d dispose of the chicken for you. My dad always did.

  14. Leah Laurent says:

    For the love of all us city-folk who can’t have chickens or goats, please, please, PLEASE get some goats. Preferably the fainters. Imagine the posts and videos you could do with the fainters!

  15. kathy says:

    It is fun to see what happens with these chicks and not have to do any of the work. The hen, I’ll guess she’s walnut, that is peering into the chicks home (they are terrified for 30 sec.) is one curvy lady. She struck a “put me on the cover” pose for that shot.

  16. MindyK says:

    Last week’s episode of RadioLab (a fantastic science podcast) talks about the Galapagos Islands. Ships introduced goats to the islands hundreds of years ago. Everything was fine as long as the goats were separated from everything else by the terrain, but a few decades ago, they finally got brave (or terribly overcrowded) and spread out. And they ate everything. Absolutely everything. Putting Darwin’s famous tortoises at serious risk. The islanders had to bring in hunters with helicopters and do really unfortunate things to thousands of goats to get the situation back in control. Now, I’m not saying that one backyard goat will devastate your neighborhood, ruin your ecosystem, and necessitate helicopter intervention, but why risk it?

  17. Tricia says:

    I can’t wait to read the goat posts! ;)

  18. Leslie says:

    Getting chicks out of the brooder is always such a HUGE relief. They’ll be faster than the big birds, so as long as there are places for them to run they would handle some group play time better than you might imagine.

    • Toni in Iowa says:

      Round pens. Works for horses, dogs, and chickens. No corners to be cornered into. And strategically placed obstacles. But chickens can be so determined to kill the one they’ve singled out that nothing deters them. The gang overwhelms the victim.

  19. Call Me Patty says:

    Totally interesting. Wow ….having chickens is a lot of hard work. And you’re so good at it.

  20. JeannieB says:

    The plastic drain pipe with the clean-out near the bottom, does it hold water for the chickens? How do you keep it clean?
    I hope that the introduction between the elder hens and the new chicks proceeds well and that no one gets hurt. I never realized that chickens have a ” mean” streak, but hey!, it’s almost the same as introducing a new, young cat when you already have an older one in the house.

  21. Patti says:

    Great post, I was waiting patiently to see how the big girls would react! I would absolutely love to see you get one or two goats … that would be as fun to watch as anything on netflix or hbo! Have you ever thought about getting a little farm with some acreage? You’re already a farmer!

  22. Carla says:

    I have never liked Martha. Pre or post jail. Pretentious.

    • Pam'a says:

      Taking Martha down a peg is a popular sport, and I get why. But I must admit, if I’d managed to cobble together a multi-million dollar empire doing all the things she does, so stylishly, so exquisitely, I’d be damned proud of myself too!

  23. Electric D says:

    The show Storage Wars had an episode where teeny tiny sunglasses were in one of the lockers. It turned out they were chicken sunglasses used to prevent the birds from attacking one another. The lenses apparently trick the birds vision. There were pics of the chickens wearing them.

    • Karen says:

      Yup. They’re literally rose coloured glasses. They stop chickens from spotting blood. That’s what gets them into a frenzy .. blood. So if one pecks and draws a little blood, they’re like piranhas. They start attacking the site of the blood. ~ karen!

  24. Feral Turtle says:

    Some great pictures. Thanks for editing poopy bum as I am eating breakfast! Just kidding…..I can eat a sub while watching a cow give birth….true story!

  25. Maria says:

    Everyone has told me that chickens are a gateway drug to goats. I am ignoring them. Have you seen the human sized poo that comes out of goat? Can’t handle that. No thank you. Besides goats don’t lay eggs and don’t even give milk until the female has had a baby goat. No thank you.

    My rooster, Cluck Norris, was hatched the same weekend as your biddies. I know he’s a rooster because he tries to crow (hysterical) and tried to jump on the back of one of the other hens when she did the submissive squat. Now that Was Funny. Cluck is about half the size of the hen and I thought she was going to beat him to death before the mom, Aretha intervened and saved poor Cluck’s life. I just love an optimistic rooster. Give him a ladder and he can go to town.

    Good luck with the flock.

    Goats are Not a gateway drug to cows, BTW.

  26. Ev Wilcox says:

    Did I miss a post? Are they all girls? Boys? Other? Inquiring minds want to know! Anyway, hope the actual “meet and greet” goes well. Thanks for the photo essay. Your pics are very crisp and color accurate! But a goat? Pushing the envelope!

  27. Ruth says:

    7th photo… counting from the bottom up… I’m sure that hen is peeing. Am I right? If not, what is it that translates as liquid in the photo?

    One pygmy goat coming right up… the plot thickens. ;-D

  28. Tigersmom says:

    I’m in a house with a lot of things that poop (a man, a boy, 2 dogs, 2 frogs) so I very much appreciate your photo shopping the poop off chicken bums as my exposure to poop already exceeds any safe limit.

  29. Nicole2 says:

    You know Karen, I went from reading maybe 20 blogs to reading just one. Yours. And this post proves I made a good choice. You are a funny, entertaining writer. Don’t ever change. Unlike Martha. xx

  30. Fran P. says:

    Black is the new orange. Great photos.

  31. Gina says:

    So one does wonder….what could the next project possibly be?

  32. Kim says:

    Love it! Curious how long you had to wait to get halfass decent pics of chicks. They move SO FAST. Pics are always blurry for me ;)

  33. Dagmar says:

    I never realized that hens had a double layer of feathers-and let me clarify. In your poopy-free photos, all your girls seem to be wearing petty coats then their feathers, AND then another petticoat and another set of feathers. I don’t quite know how else to explain it, but that’s really what it looks like. I don’t believe I ever noticed that on any other chicken before.

    Bertelsen Screen- same/same ….Lavada I’m still laughing

  34. Su says:

    Cute chicks! Once they all make nice they will look uber cool together!
    Love Martha – intimidates the hell out of me with her superior attitude… but I read her magazine and usually find one item/recipe/craft I think I can do and not be an utter failure at…. bet she doesn’t gather eggs now tho – has a lackey for that….

  35. Dede says:

    I wonder what other lunitic washed her cats every month when Martha was in the Big House.

  36. Remember when Martha almost killed Cookie Monster? Best episode ever.

  37. Maggie V says:

    When the time comes I know where you can buy a great goat ba ba ba. Do goats go ba ba or just sheep? Wonder what the neighbours would think? Now that would be interesting blog material.

    • CBuffy says:

      Sadly, goats do NOT go baaa baaa baaa in a soft and sweet manner. They go “AAAAAYYYYEEEEE” which can be heard for miles. (My “neighbor’s” name is Jane and I SWEAR her goats are yelling JAAAAAANNNE all freakin’ day / night long…) You can NOT sneak goats into a neighborhood. Or the country. See above. And they have nasty poop. Little turd balls like rabbits, but tons and tons of it at a time, and it’s sticky. Poop is just poop and will eventually come off your boots. Not goat poop. Forget gorilla glue… goat glue would have been more effective… (grin) (But dang those little pygmy ones are adorable! NO, Cbuffy, NO!! Step away from the goats!)

  38. Tracy says:

    “Kidding”…ha ha ha!

  39. Louise says:

    What great photos, and what a great deal of work they must have been! It seems you squeezed yourself into different corners of the coop, plus developed a twin to help you take photos from both sides of the “meeting of the tribes.” Excellent photo story – you are so incredibly talented!

  40. dana studer says:

    There are so many old episodes where MS does that. Just gather some herbs from your herb garden, go get some fresh eggs from your coop, go to a farm and point to the turkey you want to devour for Thanksgiving. Well, I do have an herb garden. I am cool like that. :)
    The strangest thing I ever saw on her show was where she was talking about her room she built that was draftless. It had no air movement so that it would not blow around her silver and gold leaf papers when covering things in it. Yep. Seriously.
    Ive been waiting for this post. Looks like it may go okay.
    Thanks for photoshopping out the poopy bum/vagina/vent. Makes me recall your post about how its an all in one hole-the business end of the chicken. How the chicken was looking back at you taking pics of it was one of the funniest posts ever. LOL!

  41. Grammy says:

    My middle sister has a goat. I’m tired of hearing what the little terror has destroyed this week. A friend of mine years ago got a couple of adorable little goats and the constant weeping and wailing about how destructive they were was tedious and we are no longer friends. Well, okay, it wasn’t the goats that ended our friendship, but the tales of their antics made me miss her less when it was over.

    I like you, Karen. If you get a goat, just pretend that it is perfect. Lie to us. Tell us how perfectly behaved your goat is. Instead of crying openly and showing us what’s been done to your beautiful front and back yards — including fencing and all hardscape, find pix of other lovely yards online and say they’re yours. We’ll pretend to believe you. I don’t know how you’ll explain it when the magazines want to do a photo shoot and all you’ve got is shredded stubble for vegetation, but you’re a clever girl. You’ll think of something.

    • TC says:

      I’m visiting my Grammy this week. She is funny, but not nearly as funny as you, Anti-Goat Grammy! But I agree with you. Don’t do it Karen. Please. I’ve never had goats, but I come from an island with goats everywhere. They will chew/eat/destroy EVERYTHING! Don’t do it!

      • Grammy says:

        I’m glad you’ve got a funny grammy to visit, TC! My grandson doesn’t think I’m funny, but that’s because his grandfather keeps him in stitches with fart jokes. It’s okay — he thinks I’m magic.

    • barbee says:

      Go Grammy!

  42. Jane says:

    I’m still laughing at the fact that you photoshopped their poopy bums. You are too funny! Another great post, as usual!

  43. Nicole says:

    Karen, I know a goat breeder very close to where you leave and could hook you up. Something tells me that while by-law enforcement hasn’t cracked down on your chickens your goat wouldn’t be so lucky. And it would surely mean a violent death for your beautiful front yard vegetable garden.

  44. Kat says:

    OK now where were you when you took the photos of the new chicks inside their new little coop? Where you all bunched up inside there with them? Did you drill a secret peep hole for your camera? Great article by the way. Love you chickens.

    • Karen says:

      I was on the other side of the coop. (where the stairs and door to the roost is). I just shot through the hardware cloth. ~ karen!

  45. Deb says:

    I would love to have a pigmy goat. (I’d like to have a horse, too, but I’m not an idiot, nor in a house that would allow such, although when I was a kid I tried to convince my dad that I could easily keep a horse in my bedroom, not quite understanding horses, which was a standard bedroom in a standard tract home built in suburbia in the 50s). Have you fulfilled a prophecy here? Can’t wait to “meet” your future goat. Goat’s cheese….yum, crumbled on hot pinto beans, on huevos rancheros, on a salad, on homemade veggie soup.

  46. Amber says:

    According to the German side of my family (not the Jewish side, yes I have both) the big problem with the Berlin Wall was that all these Eastern prostitutes with lower, um, standards swept through and decimated the economy of the West. What WILL your black Marans do to the local economy?? Do you think it’ll be good for democracy?

    P.S. Nicely thought out Wall o’ Tears

  47. Cyn says:

    I subscribed today just because of your chicks, so I was thrilled at the update. I have no chicks but I do have a new rescue dog with a personality disorder…

  48. Amber says:

    Really, GOATS???
    Oh gods…

  49. Lavada says:

    Germany had the Berlin Wall. . .Karen has the Bertelsen Screen — Same/Same

  50. Susan says:

    Ok, I admit it. I said, “Oh no, not another chicken post.” I apologize. I laughed and laughed at the pictures and your commentary. I am trying to imagine the conversations among and between the big and little girls.
    p.s. I’m going back and read the ones I didn’t read.

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