The PDXBackyardChix mailing list came to my rescue this week.
It's rare for me to lurk on a mailing list, but I did. By the time I had something to squawk about, we were in the desperate place, and I just wanted some experienced chicken keeper to come over and give us some advice (or shoot us).
24-hours after my first posting, this is exactly what happened. I got a ton of great advice, but even more: I got to meet the neighbor down the street who has all the nice chickens I've been watching with interest for more than a year.
After watching our chickens interact for an hour, she came up with a suggestion that hadn't occurred to me: move the 4 older Australorps and the bossy Buckeyes to the coop and let the others (slower, wounded, smaller) stay in the brooder until they heal or are big enough to defend themselves.
And that is what we did, and we have had a trouble-free 24 hours. All of the chicks got extra treats. The brooder group has been resting like they're over-wrung toddlers who finally have realized that energy runs out sometimes. Shocked to be in a new space, the coop group huddled together most of the night. Today, they've been all over the coop and seem happy.
I have to say that being around chickens is kinda weird for me. I wonder if anyone else with chicken experience might respond to me about this...
When I have felt tension over my dogs in the past, that tension has settled in my middle (solar plexus). The emotions about the difficulty have been more "human" and understandable to me.
With the chickens, I feel tension in my heart and shoulders. I feel discombobulated, wiry in the mind.
When things were going right with the dog, I felt comforted.
When things are going right with the chickens, I feel lifted.
The burdens and worries are different. The rewards and connections are different. I'm still new to this and am just noticing new feelings.
And now you know why I didn't put this update on the curiousfarm blog. Okay? Yes.