The sad tale of Fluffy

Between the thunder showers, I was putting new roofing felt on the bantam house, and giving it a coat of preservative. It’s luxurious accommodation: bantams are happy anywhere that is reliably dry and relatively well ventilated, and for many years my flock lived inside an old chest of drawers, (with the drawers removed). But about ten years ago, I relented and bought a flat pack chicken house (this was in the days before the ridiculously expensive and trendy Eglu made an appearance.) So this is where they have lived ever since.P1010855

The flock goes to bed very early: – by about six o’clock, they are all ready for sleep, even in high summer:P1010866

All, that is, except for Fluffy. Fluffy is now approaching adolescence, but still tries to creep under Madame Min’s wing at night-time. She is having none of it.P1010865

In fact, she’s always thoroughly disliked her offspring. And, as is the way of the world, the more she ignores Fluffy, the more the wretched creature runs cheeping after her. Possibly it has something to do with the name – for which I take no responsibility – but it has to be said Fluffy is not likely to win many prizes at a poultry show. I suppose, like the ugly duckling, it may turn out to be a swan, but I have my doubts.P1010858

As moral exemplars for your human offspring, chickens leave a lot to be desired. They not only indulge in child abuse, but refuse to share or play nicely. Plus, the cocks are flagrant practitioners of sexual harassment, and don’t even seem to care. Now and again, the hens become careless and stand on their chicks. They don’t care much either.

But give them enough space to get away from each other when they need to, and bantams eventually bed down into a grudging kind of flock mentality. And some of them even make good mothers. You can only see the back half of Ostrich, but she’s taking care of her three chicks. They obviously have a good future ahead, well-spoken with nice manners, while Fluffy….well, who knows?P1010862

18 thoughts on “The sad tale of Fluffy

  1. This was fun– especially that you housed the chickens in a chest of drawers. (Kininvie that is so peculiar that I feel certain you didn’t make it up.) Fluffy is obviously a superior chicken. She is trying to be supportive in looking after her mother, a child taking the role of parent, so brave. Seems to me that Ostrich’s chicks look frightened out of any sort of creative chick behavior. (You don’t know what she tells them after you shut the door.) But Fluffy, she is a bird with a free spirit. And good job with the name.

      • Seems to me Fluffy’s namesake was a girl kitty so I assumed… But you are an experienced chicken manager– can’t you sex the bird and announce the gender? Still being mistaken in the use of ‘she’ is better than calling the little bird ‘it’ don’t you think?

        • As you know, poultry sexing is hard. Many a bantam has been given a name belonging to the wrong gender. It’s a question of which is more psychologically damaging….being called ‘it’ for the first few months of your life, or having to live your life being called Brutus, when in fact you should be called Jemima….

  2. Somehow it’s always nice to look at chickens…

    When I got my first chickens as a child, my Dad went into over-blown builder’s mode and built a 2 x 4 meter construction for them with an insulated indoor coop, egg-laying boxes and even a dedicated room under the nests for any nesting hens we might be lucky enough to get. Oh, and half of the construction was a volière fit for exotic birds so they could be outside even when I wasn’t home to let them out into the garden. A bit over the top for four small dwarf wyandots, butthen a few years later when I also started rearing light sussex chickens he doubled the whole thing so I ended up with an 8 meters long hen house… (My own room at the time was 2 x 3 meters and drafty… Just saying…)

  3. Nothing wrong with living in a chest of drawers, I slept in a drawer during the war when I was tiny! Can’t say I remember it but it must have been ok! Sadly Fluffy is going to have to grow up quickly now that she isn’t a cute little ball of fluff any more, she looks as if she is at the gangly teenage stage at the moment, wait and see, she may turn out to be beautiful!

  4. It is a “begrudging sort of flock mentality” with cannibalistic tendencies in small spaces if not fed on time! I hope no analogies can be drawn to human families as I live in a small home with a seemingly endlessly hungry teenage son who is thankfully away at college most of the year. As a baby I thought he might sleep in a laundry basket near my bed, but he was having none of it– I had no chest of drawers!

    • Hi Rachelle. If you had, maybe six teenage sons, you could be in trouble. Not sure if human families have a flock mentality. Some do, some don’t, I guess.

  5. I love our girls, and I relish and enjoy every fresh egg they present me with. But, who knew they could be such bullies. We tried separating them to see if they’d get over it but as soon as you put the flock back together there are always the same two that are missing their feathers and being pushed around. Being a chicken keeper has so many pluses but it is interesting to watch their interactions. Too bad we can’t use time out. 🙂

    • Hi Judy – I’ve been through that. I’m afraid the only solution is to sell the bullied ones or give them away to a good home. I do get less of that behaviour since I’ve given the bantams extra space though.

  6. I can just imagine chickens popping out of a drawer! I know a few adult human Fluffies who refuse to leave the nest. I’d sit on them if I were their mother, too. Actually, I’d change the locks.

    • Madam Min just ignores Fluffy – it doesn’t work of course. But maybe Fluffy will grow up and start crowing. We shall see. I shall keep everyone updated….

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