I am fascinated by flock politics, and the evolution thereof. When I first integrated the flock this spring, the lines were very clear, particularly at roost time: 1.0 got their old two-roosted sleeping area; 2.0 and 2.1 got the new 8-foot roost on the other side of the coop.
It was neat. It was orderly. It was…temporary.
Because what does every little girl want? (Say it with me now…) To hang with the big girls. The last few weeks have been an interesting study in just how far 1.0 will tolerate 2.0, because both Alice and Dorothy have slept on The Big Girl Roost, at one point or another. Gidget, being smaller in size, has not been tolerated, interestingly.
Last night, I found little Mae trapped between two 1.0s on The Big Girl Roost, and I immediately thought to rescue her. I picked her up and placed her next to Marilyn on the new roost, her accustomed spot. Quite pleased with myself for having restored the natural order of things, I was miffed to see Mae promptly jump down from where I had placed her, and return to the other roost. Clearly, she had a big night planned.
Would little Mae be accepted on The Big Girl Roost? Would Marilyn be okay without her sister and protector, nestled amongst the nasty Bad Girls? Where would she hide her head, if not under Mae’s breast? There are times when one might like to intervene and make everything okay for one’s chickens, but one simply cannot. Nature will have out.
The one major design flaw in our coop is that it has very little natural light, and, with the automatic pop door currently out of order, the girls don’t really know it’s morning until I open the doors for them. This morning, I opened the coop’s inner doors to find Mae…roosted in the middle of the 1.0s on The Big Girl Roost. Just chillin’. Clearly, she had spent the night there.
A frantic fumbling for my phone produced the following evidence:
Check you out, little girl!! (Is it me, or is she smirking?)
There doesn’t seem to have been any kerfuffle (that said, short of blood being drawn or massive quantities of feathers being extracted, I don’t know how I’d know), but Buffy does seem to being telling Mae not to press her luck in this pic:
How Marilyn did, I have no idea. I found her roosted between two Australorps, but with space on either side. The nights are cold, and they will be needing each other’s warmth very soon.
I do worry about Marilyn. She’s a fragile, sucky little thing, and I totally get that Mae might be sick of holding her…wing. She’s just so needy.
It ain’t easy being at the bottom of the pecking order…