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

Thursday, November 14, 2013


This was an extreme measure.

Let me explain.  
Lil'White had been pecking brutally at Lucy's neck. 
Lucy's neck feathers were all gone, and any new ones that emerged were promptly tweezed by Lil'White. 

This had been going on for months. It was horrible to watch.  
I tried everything I could think of to stop this behavior. I knew that Lil'White would create a bloody wound if she were allowed to continue.

With all options exhausted, I broke down and ordered "Pinless Peepers", a little pince-nez designed to prevent a bird from pecking flock mates while still allowing the bird to eat and drink.  

I had hoped for pink ones.  They sent blue ones. 

With a bit of a struggle, I placed the Peepers on Lil'White's beak, clipping them into her nostrils.
Lil'White would have thrown this brick at my head if she could have. 
She was livid.

But the Peepers worked. The Lucy-plucking subsided, and after a few days Lil'White seemed to adjust somewhat to the contraption. 

It took about a month for Lucy to transform from scraggly
back to glorious.   
But at what cost?    
I felt I had only transferred the torture of one bird to the torture of another. 

And Lil'White continued to despise me -- more than she ever did, if that's even possible. 
There had to be a better solution. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Chicken in Love

Until recently, Marky's job was a piece of cake.
He was in charge of three old ladies.
Lil'White and Daisy have never been much trouble, 
and Lucy hardly ever moves from her chosen spot.

This was a pretty cushy job.  
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

Then came the four young Nuggets.  
Four additional chickens shouldn't have been much of a challenge for a professional chicken-protector like Marky…. 

But these four chickens were unlike any that Marky had met before.
These four Nuggets adored the dog. 
They truly enjoyed his company.  
These little gals gleefully pushed the boundaries of chicken-canine relations. 

They stared at him.

They flapped at him.
They cornered him. 

They napped with him.

They stalked the poor guy.

Being friendly with the flock was not part of Marky's job description.

All this attention made him very uncomfortable.  
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     

Eventually, Marky felt pressed to teach each of the little ladies a lesson. 

Below, for example, was Phoebe's moment.  She came in from the left and scooted behind Marky.... just a little too tight a squeeze.

Don't worry -- she escaped unplucked.

Next, Dorrie pushed her luck 
She got a little too close.

Just moments after I clicked this photo, Marky expressed his feelings toward Dorrie.  She now demonstrates  proper respect for the dog's personal space. 

One by one, each of the little ladies learned the hard way that Marky's beak contains teeth.

Scarlett, the little Buckeye, had her moment with the teeth, too, but she was not deterred. 

Every day, Scarlett continues to risk her shiny red feathers….

to be near the dog.
She examines him from behind. 
She gazes deep into his eyes.

Marky just wants to be left alone. 
Scarlett just wants to be close to Marky.
Wherever the dog goes, Scarlett finds him. 
Marky has become extra patient with this little gal. 
Maybe he realizes that another display of fangs will be useless in thwarting her advances.

He tries to ignore her. 
And I try to fend off disaster.
It's Scarlett I'm scolding in this photo - not Marky. 
And still she doesn't get it. 
Thank you, Marky, for not killing the chicken today.

…'s not easy being Marky. 

But it's also not easy being a chicken in love.