Friday, October 9, 2009

Pecking Order

This might be the one chicken characteristic that I cannot stand. That is.....the weakest chicken is always picked on by the others. Yesterday morning I witnessed a very sad display of this pecking order behavior. Unfortunately my favorite gal, Babs, was the recipient of the flock's aggression.
Babs is the sweetest chicken ever. Each morning, she waits on her nesting box until I come into the henhouse. I gently take her in my arms, talk to her, pet her a bit and then set her down outside the henhouse. I have noticed lately that she spends most of the day indoors.
Yesterday it became apparent to me why. I entered the henhouse to find her hiding in the corner. When I picked her up and carried her out into the yard, all of the rest of the chickens began to chase her and attack her.

I quickly picked her up out of the yard and placed her back in the henhouse.
Perplexed, I started to think about our options. Relocation seemed like the only answer. But where? Afraid that the same scenario would take place if I moved her to my other henhouse, I decided to move her into the nursery with my young pullets. So I gathered her into my arms and walked down the lane to the henhouse that serves as our nursery. It is located up by our home and not very close to the barn, where the other henhouses are.

We arrived at her new home and some quick introductions were made. None of the young pullets were upset by Babs' presence, so I decided to leave her with them. I checked on them several times during the day and all was peaceful. Hopefully she will find her place amongst this flock and live a long and happy life with them.
Pecking order is a serious thing. I suppose in the wild it serves the purpose of weeding out the weaklings....the members of the flock who could potentially bring danger to the flock. It just seems that in the case of domesticated birds there would be no need for this behavior. Maybe I am naive....after all, pecking order exists amongst humans....a behavior that serves no purpose. Since I am helpless to change this behavior, I guess I will just always have to be there for the underdog.

On a lighter note, I was able to get our 100 blueberry bushes tucked in for the winter, yesterday. Each bush was mulched with compost from the compost pile and then a layer of oak bark mulch. Aluminum sulfate was added around each bush as a soil acidifier. We will test the soil in the spring to see if another application is needed. Blueberries like acidic soil.

We planted these bushes 3 years ago with the hopes of someday having a "Pick Your Own" blueberry patch. Hubbs calls this blueberry patch his "retirement". I guess I better not tell him that two of the bushes bit the dust as I was a little over-zealous with the weed whacker earlier this week. It all happened so quick....really, I WAS trying to be careful!!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

bluberries look very cozy..ready for old man winter..I hope Babs is happy in her new home..maybe they're jealous because you make such a fuss over her or because she is the weak one she lets you make a fuss over her

Flick, said...

Oh poor, sweet Babs! She is adorable.. I hope she is enjoying her new friends! My husband has confiscated the weed-wacker from me as I be-headed his baby banana tree, It was an accident I swear!

Cathy said...

Oh no Bev not the weed wacker. I have to tell the lawnboy, he still worries about the mint he wacked!!!!

Lisa T. said...

Oh poor Babs. Chickens can be so mean.

I like the new look of your blog.

Smiles,
Lisa

Ginny said...

It happens with our ducks as well. Only most of the time it is when one of them is sick, so they really can't defend themselves, but like you I'm there to wisk them away to a quieter place.

Sherri said...

OOOH I love reading your blog! Just from reading it I had to go buy some chickies... what kinda chicken is Babs?

Susan said...

Hi Bev, I have to ask, what type of chicken is Babs. I just love her plumage. She reminds me a bit of a Silkie, but she doesn't have the fanning feathers at the base of her legs. Just curious is all.

Thank you,
Susan

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