A blog about animals and the ways people interact with them.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The chicken and dog altercation
Punkster the Polish chicken molted this fall, as chickens do. With her headdress not completely grown back (giving the evil eye in photo), she can see who’s around her and has taken a dislike to Brangelina. As they’re readying for bed in the chicken barn, she pecks at Brangelina, who cowers and falls off the perch. Bran then takes refuge, often with Edna, in the smaller coop, known as the summer house for its wire floor raised above the ground for air circulation. You don’t want added air circulation when the temperature is down to the teens at night.
At chicken bedtime, I have to go out to rustle Brangelina and Edna out of the summer house and transfer them to the barn (mini-barn photos are in earlier entries). Edna is easy; with some mildly annoyed clucking, she’ll perch on my hand as I walk her over and urge her inside where I’ve started leaving on a light for a few extra hours. Brangelina is a big girl who doesn’t like to be hoisted up, so I need both hands.
Last night when I was carrying Brangelina to the barn, Punkster walked out to the enclosure and Miró pushed his way in where I hadn’t latched the gate. Quickly, I tossed Brangelina through the door to the barn (chicken-tossing is a fine sport, BTW) but Miró had already darted forward and had Punkster’s head in his mouth. Torn between anger and laughter, I had a hard time sounding authoritative when telling him, “Drop it!” I pried a slightly damp Punkster out of his jaws by pressing his gums hard against his teeth. He then turned to item #2 on his agenda, which was the consumption of frozen chicken nuggets.
Punkster being unharmed, I tossed her into the barn whereupon she immediately leapt onto Brangelina and grabbed a beakful of neck feathers amid much crying and flapping from Brangelina. I dragged a very interested Miró out of the pen, locked the door and went around to the side of the barn where I could lift part of the hinged roof. I grabbed Punkster by the neck, pulled her off Brangelina, upended the nest box (right photo) and plunked it down on top of Punkster.
Instant quiet. Brangelina and Edna found places on the perches while Punkster sat, confused, inside the nest box. I turned it so that the opening faced the wall. She would be warm enough in there and peace would reign. I hoped Miró would not throw up from eating chicken poop.