Piper the Silkie’s Persecution: The Sad Story of the Pecking Order


Since I began raising backyard chickens, there have been some ugly aspects that I hadn’t fully grasped beforehand. The first being the awful and soul shaking dispatching of the rooster. I won’t go into that too much because it still fills my heart with a great heaviness to think about. I know that it’s a integral part of animal husbandry, but taking a life is not something I was put upon this earth to do. Still, it had to be done and I couldn’t allow someone else to do it on my behalf just because it made me soul sick. I owed that much to that evil bastard of a rooster.

The second ugly aspect that I’m dealing with currently is the terribly savage way in which the chickens establish the pecking order. The major shit-storm basically all falls upon our young heroine, Piper. She is the cutest and sweetest chicken I’ve ever seen. She follows me around the yard like I was her momma and adores my dog Sasha. She is meek, asks for little and takes nothing.

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Fuzzy Wumpkins

Except, of course, for the continuous daily beatings from the other hens. These big brutes to be exact.

the bitches
The brute squad. Tesla, Mia and Red Sonya

If she shows interest in anything at all in the run, then they pounce upon her back like a angry velociraptor and begin violently pecking at the back of her head or neck. If I’m around, I run over as fast as I’m able to break it up. Here’s a good representation so we are all on the same page…

By the way, this is my second Jurassic Park video clip illustration. I may be fixating a bit, or perhaps I relate everything in life to those movies for some reason. Fine, here’s one that isn’t copyrighted…

You get the gist of it. It’s brutal, savage and makes my heart sink and leaves me feeling pooped and demoralized every time. Pooped and demoralized is one of my favorite expressions. Hats off to Kurt Vonnegut for placing it so firmly into my head.

I’ve been going over in my head some possible solutions over the past few weeks. At first, I thought I’d train piper in karate. Two problems with that; one, she’s not the brightest pupil in the world, and two, I don’t know karate. But, I do, subsequently, know ka-razy.

The next thought was to construct a full suit of leather armor for her so at least she will be protected. I still haven’t ruled that one out yet and may actually come up with a few bad-ass designs. It may impede her movement a little though and she probably won’t like it. But I would really like it. So much so, that I thought why continue writing this sad sad post when I could do some Photoshop work instead! The results you ask?

Battle Ready Piper
The Battle-ready Piper 2000!

Man, that was very satisfying. Maybe this is the way to go here after all!

So, back to reality. My third, and less incredibly awesome, thought is that I may have to build another special little coop and run just for her. Room will be an issue, but I’m sure I can get creative. I also don’t want her to be all alone, although company that continually beats the living hell out of you isn’t much better than loneliness. Perhaps if I keep the runs adjacent to one another but separated by chicken wire it would be good enough. Or I need to bite the bullet and buy another silkie!

In the interim, I’ve been letting her out as often as I am home so she can at least get a few moments of peace throughout the day. She is so well behaved out in the yard as well, not like the other girls that scratch and dig everywhere and eat all that they see. Including my yummy garden items. Not Piper, she just lazily grazes on those pesky weeds and follows me around or chases after Sasha. By the way, if you haven’t “met” all of my family I keep mentioning, you should remedy that post haste! Go here to meet the family. I’ll wait…

Back already?

I adore having her in the yard with me. When I’m picking weeds, she comes right over to help out. If I sit to rest, she begins cooing that sweet sound that tells me she is happy and relaxed. I’ve never been able to properly record it, but this is exactly what it sounds like

 Doesn’t that just melt your heart? I love it when she does it. It also makes Sasha all attentive…

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Wolf dog NOT eating a defenseless chicken.

 

Also, take note that my wolf like dog is not in the process of eating our young maiden! That took a little bit of training. Wanna learn how? Then go here! In the meantime, here’s a bunch of random cute Piper photos as she brambles about the yard to make your heart swell and burst.

I never thought I’d feel so much love for a chicken before. Now I, by default, love all animals, but this is different. I want her to be protected and happily cooing all day long. That said, if any of my readers have any ideas I’d love to hear them. I’ve only been raising chickens for a year now, and I’m no master by any stretch of the imagination. Or, if anyone out there has leather making skills, lets get started on that sweet battle armor![paypal_donation_button]


0 Replies to “Piper the Silkie’s Persecution: The Sad Story of the Pecking Order”

  1. Duh, so many ideas: Get her some pygmy goat bodyguards. Let Sasha eat the bullies. Fashion her a spike collar. Put her in a plastic bubble. Have her live indoors with you. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

    1. Oh, I like the hamster ball idea! Although, I imagine it would get pretty poopy in there. If I had some chicken diapers, I’d love to have her inside with me. I’ve been leaning that way since she’s been out in the yard following me around. She does so little damage and is so damn cute, why not.

  2. Giving them more space to scratch and dig, and replace neurotic with normal behavior isn’t an option for you. 🙂 Perhaps sell the offenders and replace with chicks who would bond with Silkie? Sorry I can’t come up with anything better.

    We feel your pain. We had a rooster who was into S & M with the hens. (They were all missing chunks of feathers where he mounted them.) t took Lou months to have the heart to make stock out of him.

    1. I can feel Lou’s pain. It’s so hard to do The Deed on these little critters. Maybe it would be easier if I was in the 4H club as a lad. I think I need to stop naming the girls as well. There is an imminent concern for when the hens stop egg production. Typically that is when they go into the pot. I don’t know if I could do that when the time comes but if I offer my run as a rest home for retired chickens, I will soon become overwhelmed as I get more egg layers.

      This is something I simply need to get over. I wanted to have my own organic eggs as well as fresh manure and this is part of that package. I’m sure that if an actual farmer read this post, they would just shake their heads and mumble something like “damn fool city boy…”

    1. Hey thanks! Wait till you see the samurai armor I’m making for her. Still dialing in the fit. I’ve never made any outfits for a chicken before and have to take into account her budunkadunk.

      I will turn her into a fierce warrior in no time.

      I’m glad you dig the blog! What part of the Caribbean are you from? I sooo miss West Indian food out here. I’d kill for some shrimp roti…

      1. Ok it may be too soon… but I think I love you 😂😂😂 what the heck do you know about shrimp roti!?! I’m from Trinidad where the best roti comes from!

        Now, you better get her badunkadunk into shape so she’ll fit into the new gear! 😂

        1. Haha. I’d love you back if it meant roti! Many moons ago, back east, I lived with a Basian. I also may be the only white boy who knows how to whine. She taught me a thing or three. But that’s a whole other story…

          1. Listen we’re both in SoCal, let’s make a roti date! No man should be without real Caribbean curry! It’s just hard to get Caribbean groceries out here, so when I go home I stock up on spices! Or I drive down to a Vietnamese grocery 2 hours away!

          2. It’s a deal! I’ve done a few searches for West Indian restaurants over the years. Nothing. One closed down before I moved here, thanks for nothing.

  3. Yes, that’s an easy one.
    Take a large dog crate and put it in the garage. Put the top bully in there for a week. After a week put that bully back with the rest and put the next bully in the garage for a week. You can rearrange the pecking order and bring the bullies down a notch!

    1. Hi Jenna, thank you for the idea! But if I put the chickens in the garage they wouldn’t last the day. The strong Southern California sun would cook them through and through. Roast chicken.

      Since I wrote this post, I’ve made some armor for Piper. Check out the prototype here https://mindyourdirt.com/2015/04/16/samurai-piper-cuz-chicken-armor/

      It’s actually worked like a dream and the bullying has slowed down to a crawl since then. She even eats with the “pack” now and has actually grown brave as a result! I couldn’t be more proud of my little fuzzball.

      I like your method though and maybe could modify it so the biggest bully is moved to another part of the yard as to not kill it in the sweltering garage. It makes sense that the whole pecking order would shift around while the top hen is away on vacation. If the rough stuff rears its ugly head again, I’ll definitely give that a try! Thanks.

  4. You will find this lady’s blog interesting, she gives away prizes like chicken feed and stuff:

    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/

    my neighbor tried to use his friends’ old hens for weed control but he was not ready for the onslaught of possum, raccoon, skunk and even fox we get here in our little NorCal town. They kept coming back until his girls were wiped out, it was hard for him. But, right up to that point, the girls wiped the ground clean wherever he set their movable pen.

    damn I want some pygmy goats, but my husband says no more pets. I realized, I could never drink the amount of milk one girl puts out, and I couldn’t throw it away. Too bad, we got a lot of weeds around here.

    My father in law is the king of mini-donkeys. Talk about crap! But they are loyal as dogs, and eat a lot of weeds. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take the neighbors long to figure out you got them, they’re louder than a rooster in the morning.

    love your blog, sorry to chime in on an old post, but I thought you’d enjoy Chicken Chick, I get a kick out of her.

    1. Thanks Juanita! I’ll check out the chicken lady for sure. And you can comment on as many old posts as you like! I always love comments. My girlfriend also wants me to get pygmy goats. I’m not quite ready for them as I have no pen set up. But I’m giving it serious thought. Cheers!

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