Lesson 542 – The bully becomes the bullied in the henhouse

We have a Serama-mix frizzle. Her name is … wait for it… Ms. Frizzle, named after the teacher from the Magic School Bus TV show.  We have had Ms. Frizzle for two years. She is one of three we bought one summer. They were all sisters and came as a package because one of them was lame and the breeder wanted to keep them together.

Frizzles are not a breed, they are a desirous genetic aberration that any breed can show. In these birds the feathers bend up instead of down making them look very much like Daffy Duck after he has swallowed a cartoon bomb.

When we first got Ms. Frizzle, she was a rather unpleasant bird, prompting us to refer to the black three who roosted together overlooking the henhouse as the “three witches” – you know, boil, boil, toil, and trouble?

Ms. Frizzle was small (she’s a bantam) but she was a bully. She’d mercilessly attack the other hens in the coop all the time. We all tolerated her, but to be perfectly honest, Ms. Frizzle was no one’s favorite bird.

She was just too much of a meanie.

But oh have times have changed.

This is Ms. Frizzle these days. For the last two springs, she has looked like this making us wonder if she would even be alive to see the summer.  Apparently, when you are a pain in the neck, your flock members will let you know.

This is what you get when you bully others.

When we release the chickens to our yard, I’ll find more than one trying to mount Ms. Frizzle. This is in no way sexual behavior, instead it is dominant behavior. The bigger, older, birds have decided to put this little pip-squeak in her place. This is fine as far as flock behavior goes (the pecking order is in full swing here) but when you have feathers that curl up, they are easily pulled out by the feet of a bird mounting your back.

Which ends up making you look like you are ready for the stew pot before your time.  Genetic aberrations are called aberrations for a reason, they probably shouldn’t be.

Poor Ms. Frizzle. I have thought about getting her an apron to protect her back but when her feathers grow in (outward) that probably won’t work.

Last spring when we noticed this situation, it seemed to correct itself as the birds began to be released outdoors into the pen. Reprimanding an obnoxious flock member often takes second seat to eating green, yummy, shoots.

Despite her behavioral flaws, we appreciate Ms. Frizzle and her plucky little attitude and will keep an eye on her. If need be, we’ll even isolate her until wounds heal and will give her words of encouragement.

Because even little misunderstood bullies sometimes need to be given a chance.


Filed under Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Points to ponder, Roosters

3 responses to “Lesson 542 – The bully becomes the bullied in the henhouse

  1. lscheuer

    I hate it when this happens. Why can’t we all get along? …What we need is a chicken-mediator.

  2. Stephan

    No need to tell you about how much “real estate they have” or need to isolate, you are the boss here in this subject. I was not aware they could turn on each other so badly … but I am guessing they had enough as you said.

  3. Oh dear… I hate when the chicken yard becomes a battle field! 😦

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