The pecking order…

Well, the Simpsons’ ladies are well established. Only one, however, is laying eggs, although I suspect another laid an egg last week. But none since then. Apologies to all those who subscribe to the ‘man’s dominion over nature’ theory rather than the ‘man as caretaker’ theory, but they are all definitely developing their own personalities and as different as can be. What’s ironic is that they are living up to their name somewhat.

At first, Marge, with her golden neck feathers and dark tail feathers, seemed to be in charge. She was first out of the box, first to explore and she’s definitely the noisy one who warns all the others, in true Mother Hen style. Patty and Selma, the two ‘true brown’ hens were difficult to tell apart, unless you knew them well. Selma has whiter neck feathers. They were boxed up together and very subdued when out of the box. Patty hid in a corner, with Selma very close by. Lisa, who is smaller and whiter than the others, was the curious one, going into all the nooks and crevices and looking at the nesting boxes. We named them according to these first signs, and we did a good job! For any of you doubters who didn’t realise hens have personalities just as much as Basil (the Steve equivalent, and sometimes the fussy Jake equivalent) and daft Molly, who is much like myself (except she farts more) the hens really do!

Marge is now probably fairly secure in the pecking order. Nobody bothers her. If she wants a drink, she has a drink. She still warns all the others and clucks more. Patty and Selma are the meanies. They hog the water and the feed, only moving over for Marge. They hang about together. Ironically, Patty is the egg layer. Poor Lisa, however, often struggles to find her place. She can only get to water if the others let her, though Marge always makes sure she can, but Patty and Selma can really flap about and scare her off. If Patty and Selma are eating, she’s stuck at the back. Poor Lisa! She’s the one who is most likely to be off on her own. Having said that, this morning, Patty and Selma were nested tight up against each other, and Lisa was underneath them, with Marge all the way over the other side. I was quite convinced hens like to snuggle up, but not so. Most nights they take up one space on each corner.

Anyway, I shall keep you posted on the psychological welfare of the ladies!

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