Maeve is half the chicken she was. Before our very eyes, she is diminishing in size. It goes without saying that she is seriously narked about the whole affair. She angrily rips out stray feathers and spits them contemptuously on the grass. The coop is generously upholstered with black fluff which the other hens tip toe warily around. I wonder if chickens are superstitious and fear that ASBO's cowbag tendencies might be catching. In the middle of this feather storm sits a seething, raggedy creature no bigger than a pigeon.
I have tried comforting her, but got a nasty peck for my troubles. The welt is still on my finger. If I offer her treats, she either ignores me or picks up the piece of apple or crust of bread and tosses it on to the floor. All the time her orange eyes glitter with malevolence. I find it best to back slowly away.
The other hens are in fine form. Gladys and Hilda appear to have been accepted fully at this point, and all the girls sit together on the run perches and preen. Apart from Maeve, of course. Maeve is not feeling particularly proud of her appearance. To be fair, she does currently have a band of spikes where her neck feathers should be and no arse. It is not her best look. They studiously ignore her as she stroppily rips up the newspaper I use to line the coop floor and tosses it out of the pop hole door. They rightly recognise her attention seeking behaviour, and like good parents everywhere, pretend it isn't happening.
So far we are weathering the storm.