Chicken Chronicles Returns, Part 3
July 30, 2012
FLOPPY IS DEAD!
She didn’t die from starvation or a lonely barren heart; she died from a brutal gang-land attack perpetrated by the other hens. In other words, Floppy was murdered.
Muhammad, who ran in the house to tell me the news, was the sole witness.
“I went out to collect the eggs and saw Floppy sitting between the two feeding cans. The other hens were pecking her, trying, I guess, to make her move. She was trying to eat but every time she grabbed a pellet, a hen would peck her in the head, and the others would kick her in the back and side. She really looked bad. Her comb was nearly white and she looked like she was about to faint.
So, I grabbed all the other chickens and put them in the coop, unloosening the rope that held the door up and closed all other openings so they couldn’t get out. I sat Floppy back next to the food and she started to eat really fast; like she hadn’t eaten in days. I got her some water and she drank that down too.
After I saw she was able to eat, I went back in to finish my homework, figuring I’d come back out in about 10 minutes–I never should have left her.
When I went back out, the other chickens had pushed the shutters of the coop open and jumped through them. They were viciously pecking her all over her body as Floppy lay on her side barely moving. Right after I ran the other chickens away, she seized up and died.”
All I could do was shake my head and thank God it wasn’t me who retrieved the eggs this day. I also felt a little sad at the tragic end of this poor hen that never seemed to be able to fit in or get a break. Yes, she got on my nerves, but she didn’t deserve to die like that. Poor Floppy.
And what a bunch of evil spirited “henches” that killed her!!!
My husband, in typical “there must be another angle” male think, postulated Floppy was a criminal found guilty and executed according to the ‘fowl code of law.’ I just looked at him as he explained:
“Didn’t you say the eggs she was laying on were suddenly found on the ground and another hen destroyed a few herself? You said you thought they were vexed with Floppy for ‘stealing’ their time on the eggs and mad at her for not producing, again. Wasn’t this her second time, in less than a year, of brooding? Maybe she was considered an egg terrorist, or saboteur for messing up the unwritten arrangement they have with us. And remember, they ARE modern day raptors where only the strongest survive. Floppy has never been the healthiest, bravest or brightest of the bunch.”
“Besides,” he added, “I told you from the beginning; those females need a male. If there was a rooster in the coop, Floppy would’ve had her babies and the other ones wouldn’t have been so malicious because they wouldn’t be so frustrated. You know how women can get without a man,” he chuckled.
Whether Floppy was executed for criminal activity, beat to death by a sexually famished, blood thirsty mob, or simply put out of her misery; it proves, yet again, how unforgiving and ferocious these creatures can be.
We buried her near the compost pile on the north side of the house away from the garden and the “killing place.” Muhammad laid a good sized rock on her mound to mark the site.
I recently read a post that chickens naturally form clutches no bigger than 12. It said that if forced to live in a group larger than that they will fight more often, and even kill each other to lessen the population.
We’re down to 16.
If that theory is true, the bottom four in the pecking order had better watch their backs.
Asiila Imani is a doula/midwife middle aged mama of two mainly homeschooled boys. She is also my auntie:-)