What do you call the child in the playground that spots another child playing with a football and takes the ball away ………a bully, right ? Here at Gentle Giant Meadows Ranch, we have our own version of the school bully, Mr. Starbuck, the mild mannered (most of the time) black Appaloosa with no spots is “feeling” Spring and frankly, I REALLY think Charm the golden palomino is looking forward to Summer. Breakfast at the hay feeder is now clearly on a priority basis and Mr. Starbuck is top priority. Charm has become accustomed to snatching a bite when “the boss” isn’t looking, to dodging two flying heels that seem to be able to kick around corners and to duck to avoid gnashing teeth and the flat back ears that appear without warning through the top of the hay. What goes around comes around and having for the longest time been “top of the totem pole”, Charm has learnt patience, Starbuck eats first and Charm cleans up. As the Wintery sun shone over the pastures yesterday, we watched as Charm idly picked up a big stick and started to play with it. Shaking his head from side to side, up and down, tossing his head, dancing and prancing as the stick bounced and waved in his mouth. Busily guarding the hay feeder and with a mouth still full of hay, Starbuck spied Charm entertaining himself without permission and set out across the grass to investigate what he was missing. The palomino saw Starbuck, ears back and neck stretched, intently heading in his direction and he dropped the sick. The aggressor picked up the stick and instantly dropped it disinterested and satisfied that it wasn’t a tasty titbit. Charm recovered the play stick and resumed his entertainment only to have the recess bully take the “ball” again and chase Charm, kicking and bucking around the field as punishment for his insubordination. Poor Charm. It has to be said in Starbuck’s defence, a stallion for the first seven years of his life, he is only displaying classic herding instinct and …….someone has to be in charge….don’t they ?
Walking into the henhouse, two buckets of chicken grain and my egg basket in hand, there was a sharp peck on my leg. No hands free and intent on collecting the days egg production I carried on walking. There was another sharp peck followed by yet another. Irritated by the harassing chicken I determined that one more peck and the aggressor was potential chicken soup and there it was, peck, peck…. PECK !!! Done, there at my feet was a little Rhode Island Red chicken, looking just like all the others staring up at me intently and preparing to peck yet again. I swooped, scooped the bird into my arms…. and she began to croon, quietly and contentedly. Henrietta had been trying, the only way she knew how to get my attention….and it worked. Henrietta got her cuddle.
Oops, timed out, got to go. Take care, keep safe, M