Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pecking Order

These are the new girls, Blanche and Hazel. My husband , #1Son and I picked them up on Memorial Day. Two Buff Orpington sisters, a week or two older than Flora, just trying to get along in this new place. They are the low gals on the totem pole.

Flora has established herself as the Queen of the Coop. Not a surprise really, as she was the first one here and she has that spunky personality (that is probably what saved her in the "attack") .
Mavis and Pearl have been at the receiving end of her displeasure many a time and now it is these two girl's turn. I feel sorry for them.
Anything or anyone that enters the chicken yard is greeted first by Flora. Strutting her stuff, she makes sure that she is noticed. And heaven forbid if attention goes in the opposite direction from her. The wings spread, the head goes down and the legs start moving at a rapid pace. Goodness knows, she does not want to miss a thing.
It is her beak that first plunges into a wedge of soft, pink watermelon, pecks at a basil leaf or pierces a tomato. The others wait patiently, looking on with longing, waiting for her to step back and give her nod of approval. Then, and only then, do the others scurry forth to partake of a tasty treat that has come their way.
I sat in the chicken yard one day observing this behavior with amusement. The thought occurred to me that people are a lot like chickens.
In any given situation, there is always a Head Chick, a Flora. You know her. She's the one that moves right in, taking charge whether she should or not, and begins to organize things her way.
Don't try to help, because she can do it all.
But, someone always does. The Mavis and Pearls of the world, step up to do the bidding of the Floras. It's just their nature. Not willing to take on all of the responsibility themselves, they are quite content to be lead, with a nod of approval of course, to begin taking on small assignments until the Floras deem them ready to take on more.
I see that in my hens. Mavis and Pearl are always the next to move in, having been given a clucky "All Clear" from Flora. "Yes, you may pass. But you may not."
Poor Hazel and Blanche. They are always the last invited to the party. Although, I think they like to stay in the shadows, waiting for Hurricane Flora to whip through doing what she does (or thinks she does) best.
The funny thing about them is this- In the end, they are the ones who benefit the most. In all of her hurry-upness and pomp, Flora quickly loses interest. Of course she does. She expended all of her energy in trying to be the first one there and keeping everyone else at bay, that she wore herself out!
Mavis and Pearl, unable (or unwilling) to think for themselves quickly follow suit, giving Hazel and Blanche carte blanche to enjoy the spoils, whether it be a tasty treat or a little cuddle.
Don't get me wrong, there is much to love about all of the hens in my chicken yard. Flora makes me laugh at her antics. She is a bit like Mrs. Olsen in Little House on the Prairie, infuriating and comical all at the same time. Mavis and Pearl are like Cinderella's self-absorbed step-sisters- all fluff and nonsense. I cannot wait for them to realize that Flora is "not all that and a bag of chips", as my sister says.
But Hazel and Blanche have stolen my heart. Quiet and subdued, they know that they do not have to be ill-mannered to get what they need and want. It just comes to them naturally.
Low gals on the totem pole unite. Being on top doesn't make you the best. It just makes you that much harder to reach.
How's that working for ya, Flora?


The Feathered Nest said...

Karen, who knew life lessons could be learned from the chicken coop?? Such a wonderful post and so very true sweet friend ~ I love the comparisons you made to the chickens...that Mrs. Olsen was maddening!! Have a wonderful Sunday, xxoo, Dawn

claire said...

Karin, found your blog on Angie's. So much fun! Here is mine

Miss you,

Lori said...

Karen, what a wonderful post!!! i loved hearing about the antics with your chickens...Miss Flora sounds like a hoot...what a stinker:)

ps: i am giggling over your bunny below...mine was removed from her teapot too...i thought i was the only bad girl who would do such a thing:)

Lori said...

oh, and i removed the banner too

Anonymous said...

Blanche and Hazel are beautiful. I think Buff Orpingtons are one of my favorites. They are so gentle and just plain nice, well mine are any way.
I know what you mean about being the low ones on the totem pole. Chickens have their own pecking order, don't they?