Aug 13, 2009

Here We Go Again: The Barnyard Bully Revisited

Suky Mae having a really bad hair day after Ruby Pauline got hold of her head.

Edison and Bram straining to get closer to poor Suky who was sitting just out of frame here.

This past weekend little Suky Mae suffered the fate of a few of our more docile birds: she was beaten up but good by Ruby Pauline, our bully in residence. It's been a few years since Ruby last went berserk on another bird, so this came as a surprise. I haven't the heart to give Ruby away as she's too old to lay and thus would be of no use to anyone and I would worry she would be instantly culled. I mean, honestly, who would want a bird who has nothing to offer save for the occasional routing of another, innocent chicken? So to be sure she has a happy life (as happy a life as a curmudgeonly old hen can have, that is), she stays here with us and when she gets into one of her "moods" she is thrown into solitary confinement for a few days until she has forgotten all about what had her upset in the first place and can once again live in peace with the other birds.

Although she always worked alone, she now has an accomplice, George, our only other Cubalaya hen. George is not nearly as miserable as Ruby, but given that they are both a breed of bird bred for fighting in South America (and are rare and considered endangered as a breed here in the US), no matter how docile they are in their youth, they all tend to become aggressive with age. I was never informed of this rather crucial detail when I acquired these birds as tiny chicks (and shame on me for not thinking this through better than I did), but had I been, I most likely would have passed on them right then and there. The rest of my birds are breeds known for their gentleness: silkies, sex links and cochins and throwing them in with two ugly brawlers was never my intention.

Unlike Ruby's last victim, who didn't survive the attack, Suky has rallied and is back to her old self, albeit with a few less feathers on her tiny head. Ruby and George are out of confinement and back in gen pop once again and all seems to be just as it should be. For now.

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