And when the music stops…

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:

photo 1

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:

photo 2

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…

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10 thoughts on “And when the music stops…

  1. Man oh man do I get a lot of laughs from your writings! I’ve been scrolling down, down, down… I don’t have time for this, lol!
    I was given 2 Americaunas in October (along with 9 other varied hens, 2 of which have turned out to be roosters).
    I got TWO green eggs in one week about a month ago… and none since then. I am pretty sure the eggs were laid by the same hen – they were HUGE and similar pale green color. I was so happy! (I’d been trying every which way to get myself set up with a green/blue egg layer since I got my flock the year before).
    Well I’ve read that they are hugely finicky in their laying habits – won’t lay if it’s too hot or too cold, etc… and what they think is too cold is apparently different that what other chickens consider to be cold!
    It’s and adventure to learn about these creatures, that’s for sure.
    Thanks for sharing your chicken tales, they are not only entertaining but help me to feel like things are normal and I’m not a failure (by myself – lol).

    • I have the same experience with my Easter Eggers. Very unpredictable layers. Though the eggs are nice and big when they do lay. They are seasonal layers, and seem to be sporadic at best. Ah well. They are pretty little things, and I’m crossing them with my barred rocks to get a better rate of lay! The barred EEs are to die for!

      • Oh yes, I also am thinking of doing that (I am keeping 2 of my 6 roosters- at this point the old Cochin rooster because he’s gentle and the big Barred Rock (he’s only 7 mos old). I HOPE he can do ‘the job’ when the time comes, as the cochin seems to do it only for domination and not really ever get ‘the job’ done, perhaps because of all his feathers! You might be interested to know that (I read) whenever you cross with an EE, the egg color is passed on to the offspring! All I can say to that at this point is again, I hope so. (I base a lot of things on hope these days).
        Aren’t our coops /keeping chickens interesting!?

    • You are very kind; I’m glad you’re getting a kick out of it. I am no expert, certainly, and am just fumbling my way through this. Do you think I have ANY idea how I’ll manage turkeys? HA! I’ll jump off that bridge when I get to it.

    • The motor is still running at the appointed times, but it seems to have come detached from the door itself. It takes AGES for things to get done around here. Goodness only knows when it will be fixed…

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