Monday, September 6, 2010

PJ, The Badass

Apparently, Pepper Jack's aggressive tendencies aren't only directed towards me. Yesterday he chased off the adult whooper female and then proceeded to challenge the male.

I stood back thinking, "this is going to be good. Watch this little punk get his butt whooped." The adult male is 8 years older -- that's 16 migrations -- and he's been around the block a few times. I'm going to call him George, for lack of a better name. George knows his territory. He's the one that chased me around with the baby chicks last month. Not even Nacho has been able to successfully stand up to George.

Pepper Jack gracefully opens up his wings in a "I'm-bigger-than-you" challenge. He's obviously a few inches shorter than George from my stand point. George makes a pretty good strike at PJ with his beak. Then Georges wings come out and they start the dance. It becomes an all-out jump-raking and hissing contest. There were 7 other chicks around and all of them rushed in very interested in what was going on, but none of them seemed to want to get involved in the epic battle between the 2 males.

PJ took a few hits, but he gave back a few lucky ones. George didn't seem to know what to think. The big showy battle ended and George went to join his mate, but PJ kept challenging him. I think George didn't want to act like this young pup was chasing him off so they stood there in a stare-off for another 10-15 minutes. Occasionally, one would make a threat stance (where they lower the top of their head so the opponent can see the red crest). Mostly, though they both stood up as straight as possible looking as tall as they can be. Eventually, George backed down! I couldn't believe it.

He and his mate didn't leave the area, they just foraged near us. We thought that was the end, but not even 10 minutes later 6 of the chicks rushed George and his mate again and another all out brawl broke out. While Pepper Jack and George were fighting this time, Nacho snuck up behind George and pecked him in the butt feathers. Tsk Tsk, sneaky Nacho.

Eventually, George ran out of the fray again. He seemed a little disconcerted that he couldn't hold his ground against a bunch of babies. To make it worse, his mate was watching the whole thing. She looked bored most of the time: preening her feathers. How embarrassing. I don't think he'll be getting any dances any time soon.

My little chicks are growing up to be the neighborhood thugs... what am I supposed to think of this?

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