We’ve been having Chicken Drama in the back yard this week.
The delicate, fluffy, sooo cute peeps have become Peepsters— adolescent chickens with all of the desires for freedom and poor decision making skills of adolescents everywhere. When we open the rabbit hutch (their usual home) to let them out on grass in a wire enclosure for a little while, Penny, the leghorn, flaps madly around the cage, whacks her wings against my head, then flies out. Mark swears. She runs around, peeping pitifully while we herd her into the pen with the others using our arms and a rake. “She’s going—into the stewpot,” Mark mutters when I finally fling her in with her cohort. At night, it’s the same routine all over again. We’re so tired of it, we left them in today.
Meanwhile, in the big coop, Agnes, lowest chicken on the totem pole, has established dominance over the nest box. She did this last year. In early May, she decides, even though there is not a fertile egg in sight, to brood. Logic has no sway over her behavior. She has settled into the straw, laying an egg about once every three days (which I confiscate), and refuses to move. Once a day, I haul her out into the sunshine for a few moments, then she hops back up and settles down, threatening anyone who comes near. At the same time, she has sent out some sort of signal that stops the other two chickens from laying, so I am getting lots of attitude and no eggs. I don’t need all of this Drama….