Saturday, March 3, 2007

Chick one was a naughty girl

Chick one decided to get mean last night. I was in the shower (the chick-bin is now in the bathroom to keep it above dog snout height as a pre-emptive safety measure) and I heard this high pitched peeping. The kind of peeping that even a new "mother hen" can recognize as panicky. So I finished up very quickly and hopped out of the shower to stare in the bin. Lucky was staring at the side of the bin with his head cocked sideways. All appeared happy in the bin until- WHAM- chick one (the redhead) pecked chick two right in the eye! AAAAhhh!!

What was she thinking! Chick two ran off screeching. I was horrified. How do you discipline a one ounce baby bird? I told her she was being bad. I watched for a while longer. Was peace restored? Then chick one crept up to chick two and WHAM again she pecked her in the eye and chick two ran off screaming. Horrible! Pecking order doesn't mean in the eye!

So I lifted chick two out of the bin. She immediately relaxed into my hand and closed her wounded little right eye. There was no damage visible, but it had to hurt. Chick two is almost half the size of chick one, so it wasn't a fair fight. Chick one started screaming because she does that when you separate the two chicks. I was in a quandry- put them back together and risk permanent eye damage, or separate them and listen to chick one scream?

Separate them.

I got a small cardboard box, put a hand towel, water bowl, and food dish in it all while carrying a much relieved chick two in my breast pocket. I think she was sleeping (playing dead). Then, I placed chick one in the naughty chick quarters and put chick two in the regular bin. Both were safe, warm, and well provisioned.

Chick one would have none of this. She hates being away from chick two, so she started peeping so loudly I considered ear plugs. This ungodly peeping went on for a few minutes. Then, she starting to plot. She paced her little box, not screaming so much as whining, while chick two calmly ate pellets and drank water in peace. Chick one eyed me. She eyed the rim of the box. Then, to my utter dismay, she launched her tiny fluffy self eight vertical inches to the rim of the box, and perched wobbly while fluttering her pre-wing stubby arms. Then, she plunged another eight inches back down into the bin.

Then she pretended like nothing was wrong. She happily nibbled pellets along side chick two, drank water along side chick two, and they scampered around like they always do. It was too good to be true- but I had no other ideas, so I let them be.

About an hour later they were snuggled together asleep, safe and sound. It is hard to imagine that in about two months from now, chick one will look like this;


V said...

Oh dear! You have a chick bully on your hands!!

MissoulaChick said...

I left out a crucial detail- chick two (the victim) had this teeny tiny bit of poop stuck to the fuzz next to her eye. I noticed this when I was isolating the two chicks. This bit of poo was about the size of a piece of uncooked cous-cous. I pulled it off her before chick one rejoined her in the bin.

Maybe chick one was trying, in a vicious and misdirected way, to groom her sister? We'll never know.

But that would explain why the bullying stopped so abruptly.

Kevin said...

Sometimes having a sibling is tough. Hopefully chick two will emerge all the better for the gauntlet of abuse chick one heaped on her. :-)