Ruby’s Rank

Day 313 of 365

This is a picture of driveway time from the other day. That’s Juliet and Kate in the front. In the very back, you can see Rooster, and on the back right, there’s Ruby. She finally finished molting, and her feathers are extra gorgeous. I have to try to get a good picture.

Ruby still sleeps in her crate in the garage some nights, but she has been sleeping in the coop more and more. I also noticed something in the last couple of days–Ruby may be trying to move up in the pecking order.

I always felt she totally could move up if she just decided she wanted to. She little but fierce and quite scrappy. When I have to handle her, like when she was broody or for health checks, she is a nightmare. She attacks me, and I just have to take it and keep trying to hold her in a way that works for both of us.

Also, she just has an attitude. Last week, she was sleeping in a nest box, and I had not collected eggs. First of all, she attacked my hand when getting the eggs. Most hens are very kind about it. About half of the hens even stand up for you, so you can easily collect the eggs. Not Ruby. Everything is a battle.

Second, when I finally had my hand under her safely, she reached up and pecked me in the head! No one else treats me like this. But, she’s Ruby, so I guess I don’t really mind. Plus, she gets picked on so much in the flock that I realize she just has to assert herself in whatever way she can, so I let her boss me around. Plus, as I have mentioned before, she has a flair for drama, and this fascinates me.

Anyway, it has never made sense to me that she was so low in the pecking order, but this week, I am seeing a change in her. Maybe she’s finally realizing her power. Maybe she’s finally realizing she’s not the youngest anymore. Two days ago, I saw her fight with Pumpkin over a scrap when I was feeding everyone. This never happens. I usually have to seek Ruby out to make sure she gets bites from me.

But there she was, having a dust up with Pumpkin, who is very chill in her old age but still much older and higher in the pecking order than Ruby. After a few rounds, Pumpkin walked away like, “Fine, take it. It’s not worth it.” Then, today, I saw Ruby give poor Bianca a peck on the head for accidentally getting too close, and Bianca just took it and moved on.

I think this is a good thing. Poor Ruby has been at the bottom of the pecking order for far too long, but I also worry a little bit. Can you imagine if Ruby was the head hen? Hopefully, she will chill out a bit before that ever happens. She can be a little tyrant.

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