Have you ever wondered where that phrase came from? I suggest you watch some chickens, and it will quickly become apparent to you. There exists a hierarchy among chickens (and just about everything else that lives) and that order is enforced with their beaks.
Enter poor little Josephine. She was the Bottom Rung, the Outcast, the One… for whatever chicken-ish reason there was, she was at the bottom of the pecking order. The other hens picked on her. Pecked her. Repeatedly. She’d lose feathers and bleed. As I seem to be the one to often help the Underdog, I’d grab her, place her in my old chicken tractor… and feed her individually. She healed up, regrew feathers, and by the end of her first round of solitary confinement, she would “bokbok” at me, run to stand in between my feet, follow me for food, allow me to pick her up and pack her around, frequently becoming the one chicken that the grandkids could pet. Of all my chickens, Rooster Spot and Josephine are the only ones with names.
Once healed, I tried to re-integrate her with the other 10 chickens. It was a no-go… and they began to relentlessly pick on her once again.
Over Easter, I was telling the chicken’s story at the table, and tender-hearted Tess started tearing up for Josephine. “That’s so sad!” Since getting chicks wasn’t going to work for Tess this year, I offered Josephine to her as a pet. “You can borrow my chicken tractor for now… and she won’t have to hide from the other hens.” The problem of Josephine was solved.
Now, please note. Tess came to the ranch with ornithophobia… which means the fear of birds. She doesn’t like them. They freak her out. Of course, we’ve been respectful of her phobia, never teasing or pulling pranks on her about chickens.
And if you believe that last sentence, I have some tips about the stock market I’d love to sell you…
Tess has come along way… obviously, because she is very empathetic for little Josephine.
So… first order of business, Megan, Tess, and I loaded up the chicken tractor in the pickup and delivered it to her house. Boy, that sentence makes it sound so easy and fast. It was neither. We did it with girl power and four wheelers… but we did it.
So ends the saga of Josephine… with the moral of this story: Just because you’re at the bottom of the pecking order, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the rest of your life will be horrid. You might just end up with special care and top-notch accommodations!
Happy 3rd birthday, Little Miss Lorelei!!!! I love you!