There are still 16 hens, six old girls and 10 newbies. The newbies are still being hazed. Which is to be expected, I guess. I expect humans to rise above the cycle of hazing, but it's a bit much to expect similar noble behavior from chickens.
The Dude has taken it on himself to remind the old guard exactly who is Top Chicken in this part of the world. There can be Only One Rooster. Almost thirty years of living with The Dude and he is still boyish about animals. It's part of his charm, that he insists on mucking in animal behavior and that animals like him, accepting his outrageous interference. Me, I'm an observer of nature in situ.
Tax work proceeds. I've killed my right hand's tendons 10-keying by touch. They burn.
Rapping aggressive hens on the beak to make them stop pecking little ones has an effect. The brightest little ones want to ally themselves with The Top Chicken.
The Dude had a nasty sore throat yesterday, so he is definitely looking peakish in the following photos.
For more, see the cut...
I had to take a break last night to immortalize what has become a nightly ritual. For five nights running, one of the little hens has flown to The Dude's shoulder each night as he stands in the coop disciplining old hens by rapping them on the beak. She settles there as if for the night. Yesterday, she flew out of the run (5 feet of lift to clear the fence) to follow the old hens when we let them out. She's done this almost every day. But this time, instead of running from The Dude when he went to get her, she hunkered down for him. It is so much easier to pick up a properly domesticated chicken than one that is running in circles to get away from you.
Commotion in the coop!
What one chicken thinks is a good idea...
His girl is the one on the left. Trust me.
What happened was that his girl got knocked off by the interloper, the monkey-see, monkey-do hen that knew a good thing when she saw it. Here we have a good shot of the roost, six old hens on top. Other nights, several of the babies have gotten up there and ducked under a big girl's breast to avoid being pecked. His girl is back on the roost.
But that wasn't the end of it. She wouldn't stay off of him (these young girls!) and perched back on his forearm. St. Dude of The Chickens
We seem to be well on our way again to having a coop filled with happy chickens. Happy chickens lay lots of eggs and stay healthy.
Edited to add...Bonfire on Saturday!
It's weird having a bonfire without the OzConners and without my dad. The Dude is now the official volunteer fireman, complete with his pitchfork.