This hen got a bit too close and not only lost a few feathers off the top of her head for her indiscretion, but was forced to bow down submissively until Annie felt that she had sufficiently paid for her crime. If you look closely you can see bits of feather in her beak.For some unknown reason, after that incident, the other hens gave a wide berth to Annie and her brood. OK, I thought to myself, this is going well. I thought it would probably be safe now to introduce Elvira with her chicks to the group. I put Elvira, and company, carefully into the run next. Everything looked like it was going great...that is, until Annie noticed that there were some chicks way over there...with that other hen! Annie came dashing across as fast as her little legs could go (while holding up a prairie dress), and once she reached her destination, she firmly scolded Elvira for her perceived wrongdoing and proceeded to round up ALL of the chicks and took them as her own. Hmmm, this is not how I wanted this to go. Elvira protested and called to her chicks (who at this point were having a bit of an identity crisis). I was having a bit of an identification crisis of my own....all of the chicks were from the same hatch, same breed, with similar markings...I had NO idea who belonged to whom. I knew that Annie would try to take care of them all, but ten chicks is a lot for one mama to look after. I watched for a while and as time went on, things calmed down and Annie allowed Elvira to co-parent with her. Annie would look after the immediate needs of the babies and Elvira would stay on the outskirts chasing off any interlopers that became too inquisitive.
Finally, after a few hours, Elvira's chicks started to wander back to her, and by late in the day everyone was back to their rightful adoptive mothers. Annie was then content with her six, and was keeping them very close. Can you see three of the chicks poking out?
Elvira was taking no chances this time. She was going to keep her babies REALLY close.