In which Weasel scolds a naughty chicken in a most satisfying way
When our first two chickens, Mapp and Lucia, were little, they spent a lot of time trying to establish dominance. Mostly by belly-bumping each other like beerful rednecks at last call. It was hilarious. (Lucia eventually won…boy howdy, did she. She’s the capa di tutti capi of backyard chickens).
The second two didn’t do that. Violet is a half-pint but she’s a cheeky, aggressive little shit — well on her way to the #2 slot and just waiting for Lucia to stumble.
Vita, from the outset, was a shy, passive bird. Big, blowsy, slow. Very beautiful.
They pick on her something horrible.
It hurts to watch. The chasing and pecking was bad enough, but eventually Vita lost the will even to run. She’d lie beak-down in the grass and just let the others peck at her until they got tired. (First time I saw it, I thought she’d dropped dead of a heart attack and they were trying to wake her up).
I try to spoil her with little treats, but she’s as scared of me as she is of the other chickens.
Now, generally speaking, it’s best to let animals get on with it. Sometimes, when you try to interfere in the social hierarchy, you just make things worse for the underdog. And, sure enough, Lucia and Violet eventually satisfied themselves that they’d proven their point and are content these days with the occasional head-fake in Vita’s direction.
Not Mapp. She’s crazy evil by nature, and it’s +100 when she’s broody. I have to turn her physically off the nest in the mornings now. She emerges into daylight blinking, stumbling, feathers sticking up all over, making croaky rook noises and mad at everything. Especially Vita.
She takes a special delight in catching Vita off guard. The poor bird will make herself a nice little wallow in the flower border, off to the side, away from the others, not harming anybody, and just as she spreads her wings in the sun and drifts away into bliss, Mapp pounces.
Honestly, there’s only so much of that up with which I can put.
So I bought a Super Soaker. Well, not a Super Soaker, a cheap Chinese knockoff called a Special Gun. Worth every penny of my £4.99. With a little practice, I can splat Mapp several chicken lengths from Vita’s wallow. You know that “mad as a wet hen” thing? Totally true. Huh.
Screw behavior modification, I haven’t had this much fun since I sold my arsenal and moved to Gun Control Land.