Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The One About a Depressed Chicken

Poor Vanellope. 

Oreo decided that she was no longer happy being at the bottom of the pecking order. Being at the bottom of the flock really happened by default as she is the youngest of the chickens. When we brought them home she just naturally ended up at the bottom. In fact it seemed like for the longest time the pecking order was actually their age order. Oreo realized she wanted to be higher up and not at the bottom anymore.

So one day Oreo started to challenge Vanellope (who was number 4 in the line) for her spot in the flock. Have you ever seen a chicken challenge another chicken? I wish I could get a picture of this but sadly every time I see it, I don’t have any photo taking device on me or ready. (shocking I know) It happens rather quickly and randomly, so I would have to be just standing their waiting and waiting for her to decide to show her stuff or just be really lucky. Oreo would run up to Vanellope and puff her chest out (think chest bump) then sometimes peck her. Vanellope sometimes pecked back and other times she would just turn around and walk away. And then Oreo would go about her day. Until she decided to do it again.

Vanellope lost her position and is now at the bottom and became a bit depressed. Yep that’s right, depressed. Did you know chickens could get depressed? I didn’t know chickens could get depressed. What does a depressed chicken look like? Well, let me tell you.

Vanellope started to mope around her head not held as high. She would sit around off to the side instead of roaming the run or the yard scratching and pecking for bugs with the others. She would be the last one to go after any treats we put out. Sometimes she would hang back and just not go after any of them at all. She even stopped hanging out with Sparky all the time. Those two were practically inseparable when they were little. I felt so bad for her I decided to make a point of giving her treats before setting them out for everyone. We would go in to the run or coop and seek her out first before saying hi to the others. We made a point of making sure she knew that her position in the flock didn’t matter. She is still a great little chicken. After a few days she started to perk back up and be more playful. She stopped hanging back and starting moving in to inhale as many of her favorite treats before the others. While she is still at the bottom, she seems to be more okay with it. And she is running around like her energetic self again. 

This pecking order thing has many rules that this human doesn’t understand. How do they make the decision not to fight for their spot? When is it decided that there is a new order? Do the others have a say in the change? I just don’t completely get it. Chickens are quite fascinating creatures to study.

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Chicken Adventures

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