Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blanche completely weirds out

Blanche has always been a loner - one of those that, if human, would be on the news for committing some strange crime. Sure, she's the cute, fuzzy yellow chick that insists on being in all photos. But you can just see the neighbors being interviewed: Well, she kept to herself, pretty much.

She is now all grown up and doesn't lay eggs very often. We tried calling her Peaches or Peachy, but Blanche is the name that stuck. She has taken up permanent residence in one of the nesting boxes and hisses at me when I open the door. She puffs up and is ready to strike if I put my hand anywhere near her.

For a long time, she just sits, but after a while, discovers that she could be sitting on eggs. It must give her a sense of purpose. I fool her by giving her a plastic Easter egg, or a golf ball. She then stands up and rolls it under with her beak, settling it in with the rest of the brood. I can then see how many eggs she's sitting on. Then she catches on.

So now, I come at her from behind. Since my husband designed the coop with a jutted-out area for the nesting boxes, it has its own flip-up door. (It's really heavy and we have a low-tech way to keep it open: a stick.) I pick Blanche up by the butt, and grab the eggs with the other hand. She can't beak me from that distance.

OK, so Blanche goes broody, you say. But the thing that's so weird is that she also recruits Legs to be part of it. She sits on Legs like she's still an egg. And Legs puts up with it! Why? Warmth? Two outcasts bonding together? Nothin' else to do?

On the occasion where Blanche does leave the nesting box, she heads out into the run for some scratch grains. But she stays puffed up, walking around like a pumped-up body builder on Venice Beach.

I begin to really dislike Blanche. But when she does go into the run, the other chickens pick on her and I feel bad. So for now, I am putting up with her weirdness and hostility. And Legs does, too.

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