Today I rounded up all the bad boys and set up the bully pen. At a certain point, Norman the goose takes his job much too seriously and works the graveyard shift, too. When I can hear his supervising honks all night long, it is time for action.
Here are a couple photos of better times, AKA fall and winter. Most of the fighting is a springtime affair, but it takes a while for everyone to kiss and make up. Norman is the big gander with the black bill. Cubicle is the smaller goose with the orange bill. Shamrock, a tall gray runner duck, is in love with Cubicle, but she doesn’t take him seriously, so Norman is okay with it.
My oldest drake, Fabio, is about 9 years old. The head pouf he was named for has long gone, along with his curly drake feather. He limps around pretty well, but he’s lowest on the totem pole. Two of the Rouens (fat mallard-colored drakes), Boxcar and Boondock are very protective of him. Tony, a mostly-black duck who came here from Pasado’s Safe Haven with Vinny and Sal, despises Fabio. Tony attacks Fabio when Boxcar and Boondock let down their guard.
However, Tony is the primary protector of Sal. For some reason, my third Rouen, Emilio, despises Sal. So, Sal has become a tree duck, fiercely defended by Vinny and Tony. I have arranged a feeding station up there for them. Lately, though, Norman gets up there and helps himself to lunch when he’s in the neighborhood. Nobody messes with Norman. Except Romeo, my muscovy drake. He nearly put out Norman’s eye one spring, but for some reason, Romeo hasn’t tried to kill him this year. I suspect the muscovy ducks, Winky (disliked by ALL the poultry) and Carmen (loved by all), are keeping him busy.
With Sal in his tree, and Emilio locked in the cat pen at night, it has been quieter. We have passed the summer solstice, and they will slowly quit fighting on their own, but to accelerate the process, I have separated the four worse offenders into the bully pen. This should break the bond between the aggressors and the under dogs more quickly than if I allow the aggression to continue. I’m also concerned about poor Sal and Fabio, for whom life has not been lovely this summer. I’ll continue to watch for bullying- often one of the others will rise to alpha with the bullies gone- but it should settle everyone down pretty quickly. Last year, I had to separate them much earlier and for much longer, so believe it or not, this is quite an improvement!
Welcome to the bully pen, Emilio, Tony, Romeo, and even Shamrock, who doesn’t pick on anyone in particular. He’s just a jerk.
Stay tuned, and I’ll let you know how it goes.