From the day I got her, Pigeon said only one word.
It's not a word I'd ever heard from my other hens.
They all have different vocabularies --
Lucy chats a lot and kind of moans like an old woman with the gout.
Lil'White isn't much of a talker, but she does give a good burp.
Roosterman, of course, has a lot to say -- he has words for Food, Fox-in-the-woods, Hawk-in-the-sky, Let's-get-it-on, .....
But "oooWip?" --- I couldn't figure that one out.
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After a month of quarantine, Pigeon was now healthy and happy and well-fed, and it was time to integrate her into the flock.
She spent a day safe in a cage near the girls, where she could look at them and they could look at her. She watched them eagerly; they pretty much ignored her.
The next day I sprinkled chicken scratch on the lawn, put all three girls together, and stood by to rescue little Pigeon if necessary.
Pigeon puffed herself up and prepared for battle.
She approached Lil'White and growled.
Lil'White turned around and made a beeline for the forsythia.
Pigeon turned to Lucy and growled.
Lucy sat down.
Pigeon pecked her on the head.
"oooWip?" said Lucy.
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But Pigeon wouldn't take "ooWip?" for an answer. She kept on pecking at Lucy.
Lucy's feet were hurting her that day so she couldn't get away if she'd tried.
I just couldn't stand by and watch.... So I gently inserted my garden rake between the two. Lucy stood up and Pigeon darted around the rake and squeezed in to get another peck at her.
I think she mistook Lucy's feathers for her own.
So that was about it. Lucy and Lil'White pretty much handed the throne to Pigeon.
No battle, no discussion, no nothing.
I never would have guessed that outcome.
As Queen Hen, first thing on Pigeon's agenda was to never go hungry again. She marched on over to the feed bin in the coop and ate and ate and ate. Lucy and Lil'White cowered in the corner until Pigeon was finished, which took forever.
At dusk, Lucy and Lil'White climbed the ladder to the henhouse and took their usual places on the roosts.
Pigeon wandered around out in the coop down below, and found a stick on the ground to perch on.
I picked her up and placed her in the henhouse with the girls.
Next morning, I gave her a little lesson on climbing the ladder.
It did no good. Every night still, I go out to the coop and pick Pigeon up off the ground and place her inside on the roost.
After a few days, the girls all settled into the new pecking order, and Pigeon ceased to peck at Lucy and Lil'White.
Pigeon's an enthusiastic little hen -- almost giddy. I attribute that to the hardship she's suffered. Life now is good - and she is ready for fun.
Pigeon has decided that she will be Lucy's Very Best Friend.
At times, Lucy seems a bit annoyed by her Little Shadow, but hey...
Being adored and admired sure beats a peck on the head.
See the next blog post: VACATION!