This is my blog about the day to day lives of my little flock of pet chickens. They're a happy little flock, although they're totally crackers! If you want a laugh, they'll gladly give you one.


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Thursday, 17 November 2011

A change isn't always as good as a rest

I'd have thought that a chicken's personality would stay pretty much the same all its life.  That was before I started keeping chickens.  Now I've learned that, just as with human beings, changes in circumstances can bring changes in chickens' personalities too.

Tu-Tu is a prime example.  When she first arrived she was second in command to our beautiful late-lamented Sebright, Queen B.   Rather like a Company Sergeant-Major Tu-Tu didn't walk, she swaggered round the run.  Queen B gave the order, Tu-Tu carried it out.  With relish, it often seemed to me.   She was a high-ranking member of the flock - she knew it and she made quite sure the others did too.

She quickly got us organised as well, showing no fear of us from very early on.  However, she drew the line at allowing us to pick her up.

Then she insisted on going broody, sat on Araucana eggs and reared the chicks. When she returned to the run, the swagger had disappeared.  Remembering her previous form, the others were not nice to her at all.  Sometimes Queen B stepped in to protect her, or offer a quiet few words of encouragement.  But she seemed to realise her Lieutenant was shell-shocked and that she'd have to do her own dirty work.

Tu-Tu was very nervous at this point in time.   She had lost a lot of condition and a lot of weight, as well as losing her authority.  As soon as one of us went into the run, she would come over and now she begged to be picked up.  She quite rightly felt much safer in our arms.

However, she's a trooper is our little Pekin and, to paraphrase the old song, she "picked herself up, brushed herself down, and started all over again".

She can't be second in command again because Maggie can cope very well by herself thankyou-very-much.  However, Tu-Tu is no longer bottom of the heap.   I have a feeling she's quite happy sitting in the middle of the pecking order.   She's no longer frightened of shadows (or any of the other chickens).  She now has an air of tranquillity about her, a sort of matronly calmness.   She has regained her air of authority, but there's no belligerance now.   Even when she chases the Araucanas, she simply takes a short run at them - just to remind them of their inferiority.  There's no longer any pecking going on.

So a complete personality make-over.   I didn't see that coming.

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