Everyone wants to be the best, supposedly, but so far as I can see our Alpha Male cockerel is very content to be second best in some things. It’s a very precarious position once you’ve Reached theTop. After taking the position from Party Pants, Neo has been top cock for a couple of years now, with no-one to challenge him until recently. Earlier this year we hatched some chicks – known at the time as the Fast Food Five – who turned out to be four hens, and the one we now call Spotty Cock.
|I'm in charge, right?|
So, Neo has competition.
Spotty, being young and testosterone super-charged, is courting the hens. Neo, being a perfectly normal testosterone-powered psycho, wants to keep them all for himself. This is all perfectly standard – new guy comes along, some of the girls fancy a change, established guy kicks the proverbial out of the newcomer on a regular basis. New guy eventually figures out how to hang out with the girls somewhere established guy can’t see.
|I'm younger, faster and have more testosterone...|
Fortunately, Spotty has learned the all important skill of Run Away. Not only has he learned it, but he keeps in regular training and has proved that he is the fastest cock on the farm. Even though it’s only a two-bird competition, being the fastest means no blood-shed, because when two cockerels decide to fight it out, there is blood everywhere.
Now it seems to me that although Neo is now a mature guy of over two years old, it’s not that long since he was practising the fine art of being the fastest cock on the farm, keeping out of reach of his predecessor, Party Pants. Of course, the day came when Neo decided not to run, had it out with Party Pants, and became Top Cock in a significant blood-bath. At the time, my first thought was a fox attack but, as is so often the case, it was just another round of chicken-on-chicken violence.
Maybe I’m misreading it, but Neo is still fast, probably more than capable of catching Spotty and putting him in his place. There are certainly occasions where the chase results in Spotty being trapped in a corner, because no matter how fast his legs are, Spotty is still a chicken and not terribly bright. Even then, Spotty gets away. So I’ve become convinced that Neo is not really trying to catch him. Somewhere deep in that intellectually challenged bird-brain is the knowledge that Spotty is younger, faster and if forced to fight quite possibly destined to be the new Top Cock.
It’s all a matter of perception. Provided Spotty keeps running away, the status quo can remain. Neo is Top Cock, but the second-fastest bird. Sometimes, second best really is the best thing to be.