A blog about animals and the ways people interact with them.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
The innocent victim
The lighter patch shows the innocent victim's feathers growing in.
Birds moult at the end of summer but not all at the same time or in the same way. Little Edna, the Modern Game bantam, went without a tail for a while. Brangelina, Americauna shown above, dropped a pile of wing and back feathers, leaving her looking half-plucked even while they were growing in.
Punkster, below, fancies herself in charge of everything. Seeing a strange-looking hen in "her" run, she started picking on Brangelina, chasing her out of the coop or just out of the way. She corners the larger hen and beats on her while Brangelina cowers and squawks with head tucked down. When she can, Brangelina hops on top of the old hutch and crouches in the space between the overhead netting and the hutch top.
Punkster the evil-doer
I got really tired of the noise and fighting one evening at chicken bed-time when Punkster was trying to force Bran out, so I hauled Punkster out of the coop and tossed her in the hutch, closing the door. All the other hens settled quietly on their roosts in the coop while Punkster paced back and forth, very unhappy about being alone in a different place. When it grew completely dark out, I fetched Punkster from the hutch and put her in the coop with the others.
Chickens are disoriented in the dark; even with the aid of a flashlight, Punkster didn't seem entirely awake. She made the high-pitched humming noise that sounds like "huuuunnnhhhh?" while stepping cautiously inside. I waited for a while, shining the flashlight for her, while she stood around--you wouldn't call it thinking but I guess something was slowly revolving in her head. I think she spent the night on the coop floor.
The next morning when they all woke up, there was that strange moth-eaten chicken and the bullying started all over again. When Brangelina's feathers finish growing in, Punkster will go, "Oh, I know you; you're part of the flock." Or I hope she will.
P.S. Blogger is really messed up today. I had to revert to the old blogger in order to upload photos and back to new to fix the spacing because the new one suddenly wanted me to sign in again in order to upload, and then it wouldn't recognize my user name or password. Anybody else encounter, and possibly solve, that problem?