Monday, March 22, 2010

Poultry Politics

Anyone who's spent time around chickens knows there's a constant twitter of tension afoot. Hens have their pecking order (I believe that the term "pecking order" itself was more or less invented in conjunction with chickens...) and yes, there are the bossy ladies and their underlings, poor "Lulu", tailless through the winter and "Chicklee", whose innocent name belies a steel-eyed ferocity. There is "Happy Chick" who is generally not happy at all but scurrying out of the way of more powerful hens and so on and so on. Always a simmering dispute, a newly formed clique, a ruffled feather.

But this is nothing compared to the all-out warfare of the boys. "Little Jaguar", our two year old yellow green gem, remains top seed in Maggie's Farm version of March Madness. He is the sole coop-living rooster, buds with all the established ladies (many almost 5 years his senior-- an accomplishment considering that each chicken year must be about 10 human ones), courtly and well-mannered to a fault.

Then there are, Apollo and Dionysus, last spring's chicks turned ruffians. They've managed to peel a few low ranking hens (well, their sisters, mostly) away from Jaguar and flee to their not so secret (and very messy) hideout in the barn. These two get along famously and together, they strut just out of range of the old man. There have been a few skirmishes. I twice found the boys, and Jaguar too, heads streaked with brawl-related blood. But so far, it's mostly a cold war.

And then there is the "nerd" of the flock, poor "Soccerball", he of the funny name and low, low ranking. Soccerball spent a good bit of the winter huddled under the coop, ostracized, cold, miserable. (At least as miserable as a chicken can be). Even Soccerball's siblings, "Pearl" and "Basketball" (Yes, the kids name most of the poultry...) have joined up with Apollo and Dionysis. Poor guy!

Soccerball spends most of his time on the outskirts of Jaguar's flock, one eye fixed covetously on the hens, one on a quick retreat. Maybe one day he'll manage some sort of coop coup.

Until then, the politics-- and politicking-- goes on.


Vt6Dragon said...

Coop coup! I love it.

ariellareau said...

Love hearing about your chickens and I love your ongoing book list too. Thanks for sharing.

P said...

Thanks. I've got to seriously update that book list!

Christy said...

The politics is very ending with the chickens. I have 2 roosters that I have to keep separated.

Christy said...

That should say never ending.