True stories of a small flock of remarkable individuals -- and other critters.



Thursday, July 21, 2011

BULLYING -or- The Evil Orpington



Orpingtons are reputed to be one of the most docile and friendly breeds of chicken. 
So why is Lil'White such a sociopath?

She started out as sweet as could be.  
Was an inner fury brewing in that fluffy little soul?

You can't blame it on the mother (me).   My girls enjoy spacious accommodations--- more good food than they ever can cram into those little crops of theirs--- safe and spacious roosting areas ---- plenty of entertainment and activity.
There's no logical explanation for her brutal behavior.  

Not only does she viciously defend her #2 position in the pecking order ...all...day...long, incessantly and unprovoked, 
but she brutally attacks ME every chance she gets---  

---appearing innocent and curious all the while.   
My legs receive most of her abuse, but whenever I squat down to chat with the ladies, she quietly slips around back and pecks mercilessly -- maniacally --

at my butt. 
  
I feel that if she had the appropriate weapon, she'd kill me--drag me to the woods and  bury me in a shallow grave behind the compost pile.   But all she's got is a little beak and a twisted little mind.  She doesn't scare me one bit. 

She sure put the fear of chickens into Grandma, though.


Fern and Daisy take most of her abuse,
but they're young and quick  so blood loss is rare.

Now I'm wondering if young impressionable Fern has picked up some nasty behavior from Lil'White.
Recently, suddenly, Fern decided that she will be above Daisy in the pecking order.  It was kind of sad to watch because Daisy and Fern had been little allies from the start.

Two tykes, 

inseparable.

When Fern started attacking her, Daisy clearly had better things to do than to bicker about her social rank.  She just got out of the way.
Now Daisy's kind of on her own.

She keeps to the perimeter.

But, because she's an awesome gal, she makes the most of it.
There's more adventure to be had when you're on your own...
like suddenly discovering
The Car.



Bedtime is a stressful time for Daisy.  I used to rescue Fern from up in the dark rafters every night, but now I leave her up there alone, rather than let her torment Daisy on the roost.
So Daisy has had only one beak to dodge in the evenings -- Lil'White's.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

Last night, however, when I went out to lock up the coop, I came upon a pretty little sight.  
All five sitting quietly on the summer roost.

I hope it's a foreshadow of harmony to come.  



25 comments:

  1. Awwwwwww what a gorgeous post. I so miss my flock.

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  2. Glad to hear that harmony has been restored, hope it lasts. Lauren thank you for letting me enjoy your girls! Still no chickens here...

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  3. Hello Lauren!
    It seems there's one in every bunch...Lil White certainly has an attitude. I hope peace has continued in the coop. Enjoy your Thursday!
    Maura :)

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  4. LOL! Your so funny. I see the same thing. My older hens will not let the young 'uns around them. It's like a soap opera. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. THANKS for the good story to start my day!! Maybe the girls just decided that it was too hot to fight!! Whatever reason, I hope it continues!!

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  6. Too funny (well not for you!) I got a BO because I heard they were the most popular chickens with kids - mine does not peck but she turns to stone when I get near, and forget trying to touch her or pick her up - she freaks out! We just got 3 new babies and she has taken it upon herself to be mommy. They are funny creatures for sure!

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  7. Oh Lauren, what a sweet post! I love that Pigeon and Lucy are the buffers between the girls!

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  8. I love, love, love your posts and your chickens. Your stories are always a wonderful start to a day. Bless Daisy! I hope she has wonderful safe adventures.

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  9. What a great way to start my day! I love your stories of your flock :) I have a mean Buff also, but I think she's all beak and no bite--or something like that...

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  10. Maybe some therapy for the whole family...just kidding...

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  11. I have a BO who pecks at me too! She's at the bottom of the pecking order in my flock. I always thought she was trying to peck a whole in me to see if I was full of seeds. Sometimes, I think she just wants some love. I just scoop her up and hold her when she does this.

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  12. This is so sad! My little Dorothy (BO) is the sweetest girl. She keep trying to make friends with the big gals only to be pecked. My evil chicken is my Delaware. Gosh she's evil.

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  13. Some 'kids' just need the time to figure things out! I guess. She was obviously listening to another 'tune' in her head. Hope things stay calm.

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  14. I love reading about your chickens, their behaviour is fascinating. I don't think I have an 'Evil' one yet, though at 17 weeks I still can't tell mine apart. I am going to get coloured rings. I am sure it is the same chicken that likes me to play chase and runs me round and round the garden at bedtime.

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  15. I always look forward to reading your posts and learning what your girls have been up to. Sweet little Daisy. At least she doesn't seem to let her flock position define who she is. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that finding all the girls on the same roost is a good omen for Daisy........

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  16. I get so excited when I see you have a new post up!

    I just got a new BO. She's young and only about half the size of the full grown ladies, but I can already tell she's going to challenge #2, and maybe even try to rule the roost one day. This gal is feisty! I haven't been attacked yet, but I'll consider your post a warning.

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  17. Your writing cracks me up!!! Enjoyed this post!

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  18. Such drama!
    Love seeing them on the roost, peacefully. Here's to harmony in the coop..

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  19. Hi ladies! I'm glad to see you're all getting along well! :)

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  20. Am I right in thinking you don't have a rooster? If so, that might be why some of the hens are showing more than usual dominance? Unlike humans, lol, hens can find the absence of a rooster stressful. I noticed the same with my muscovy ducks after I re-homed the males. The females were fine at first but after a while fights broke out. They can co-exist amicably for weeks and then suddenly something will set one or other of them off. It can work in reverse too, though. I have an elderly Blue Orpington who got to the point where she felt that she had discharged her debt to society and deserved retirement, perhaps lay the occasional egg, that's all. And she'd had quite enough of that brash young rooster, thank you, even if the other hens thought he was the bee's knees. I used to find her perching (with difficulty) on top of the rabbit hutch, trying to avoid the rooster's attentions. Since she clearly wasn't happy I ended up taking her away from the huge enclosure with windbreak netting that serves as the chook run and giving her her own home near the house. She immediately perked up and now hangs out with the guinea fowl and the ducks, happily retiring to her private sleeping quarters at night. I wouldn't have predicted it but it seems to have worked very well.

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  21. Funny how the calm neighborly types turn out to be the sociopaths.

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  22. I can't wait to share this delightful post with Brie when she returns home from camp today. Precious photos... Who took the one where Li'l White is pecking at your bottom? Too funny!

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  23. I guess Lil'White has not read up on the new bullying laws passed in Massachusetts. She perhaps should take some kind of pecking order empathy class to set her on the straight and narrow path to good behavior. LOL! Love your posts and look forward to them all the time.

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  24. Isn't it crazy how we accomodate these insane birds!? Ha! I have two orps, and they are as sweet as can be. I giggled at yours - quite the antics!

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