Saturday, May 04, 2013

Henpecked

 
Of course most people know the phrase "henpecked" meaning persistent nagging usually, but in the true context of the word in the animal world, its a bit more than that.

As readers of the blog know, there are usually chickens in the barn, mostly laying hens these days, keeping me supplied with fresh eggs daily.  Well, there is a pecking order in a flock of birds and sometimes that gets out of order and they turn on one another.  It starts as a little peck or a feather pull then can rapidly progress to constant pecking of the victim til the bird loses feathers, often most of them on top of their head and neck.  Chickens are very aggressive at times and will gang up on and kill another bird that shows signs of distress or bleeding.  I presume its a throwback to the "survival of the fittest" principle, but never nice to witness.

Once noticed, the pecked hens are removed from the flock and left to explore the barn with BD and Buddy, the ducks, til the feathers grow back and they can be reintroduced to the flock.


The sketch at the top of this post is of one of the of henpecked hens who have the run of the barn and garden now, along with BD and Buddy.  The feathers are starting to grow back again but they look pretty scruffy around the head and neck still.  Of course moulting around this time of year doesn't help either.  Here they are enjoying spring, ready for an adventure into the meadow to hunt for bugs.

8 comments:

RH Carpenter said...

We think animals are so cute and cuddly and they are not - they are animals. You've done a good job on defining this proud hen - and a great job on taking care of those ones picked on (like a vacation all to themselves with just a few duck friends :)

Jeanette said...

So very true Rhonda. Animals have a life based on instinct, nothing more. Humans assign them human-like traits then are surprised when they act outside those expectations.

It is a responsibility of animal owners at any level to ensure their well being and these two currently seem to enjoy their time with the ducks.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Jeanette, You tell a Great story about chickens.. so true. and such descriptive and sensitive lines in your drawing. I love it and the subject.

Christiane Kingsley said...

Very nice sketch, Jeanette.
I really did not know that fact about chickens!Nature can be very harsh.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Gwen, they're lovely to draw and such characters to interact with.

I must do a painting of one of them soon Christiane. All these birds and animals act/react on survival instinct I believe. Its the norm for them, just we humans try to see them as small people and give them the same societal norms.

Sue Pownall said...

Degas saw her first chickens on Monday - they were not as attractive as your drawing!

Jeanette said...

Chickens are truly little dinosaurs. What did Degas think of her encounter with them?

Hedera said...

Wonderful drawing Jeanette.