Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Bullying in the workplace

This blog-post contains scenes which some readers may find shocking.

Senior Under-gardener, Ruby, has been the victim of a vicious assault. A young male member of staff, in a newly created executive position, has used bullying tactics to depose and demote her; now he has even resorted to violence and GBH.

This morning I noticed that Ruby looked different – I wasn't absolutely sure, so I found a photo that I took a few weeks ago . . .


Today she looks like this . . .


Then I found the crime scene . . .


I've washed away the blood (seeing red will inflame the situation) and I will have to keep a close watch on the rivals. Ruby seems fine, if a tad subdued and thoughtful, I wonder if she's called the National Bullying Helpline for advice?

21 comments:

  1. :-( I hope Ruby is OK. We had a cockerel who we had to get rid of recently after he attacked our little girl (giving her a black eye) and us several times. They can be very hormonal and vicious sometimes and seem to go for the eyes of anything they don't take a liking too.

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  2. Drama! Bloodshed! Alliances! Who needs the movies?
    It'll be interesting to see how this settles out. Now that she's no longer the boss, has he calmed down? Some chickens don't seem to be able to read submissive body language and they keep attacking. I hope that's not the case.

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  3. Hi Scented Sweetpeas - I hope things settle down and Tarragon stays with us - I'm growing fond of him.

    Hi Terry - It's all my doing, I feel sorry for Ruby :-( But thankfully she's been eating her porridge'n'mash lunch with Tarragon and the others and no pecks were aimed... fingers crossed they've agreed a truce.

    Hen-keeping is never dull!
    Celia
    x

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  4. Be glad Tarragon is not an Andalucian!I had a really nasty one who used to drop-kick me.The cats would not go near him!

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  5. Hi Dinahmow - I bear a couple of bruises and scars on the back of my wrist from a couple of well aimed pecks from Tarragon because I gave 'his girls' a good-night stroke. He's got a beak like a stubby pair of pliers! I'm trying to make sure he knows I'm the boss...

    Celia

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  6. Poor Ruby! It's all happening in the coop. I don't think she has called the National Bullying Helpline, otherwise it would have been all over the news! I hope she perks up soon.
    best wishes
    Dan

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  7. Thank you Dan - Ruby seems fine (she ate her porridge'n'mash enthusiastically) but she needs to keep her head down and let the man rule the roost. Don't let Ms Greer hear me say that ;-)

    Celia

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  8. Poor lass. I'll stick to ladies. Having said that, I know top hens can draw blood with other girls. It's tough at the top!

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  9. if tarragon keeps feeling his oats, you might have to resort to my grandmother's weapon of choice agianst aggressive geese: a sturdy broom. when a gander charger her, she merely sweep him up & away w/the broom-making sure to lift him a few inches off the ground-& they got the message quickly!

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  10. Hi Veg Heaven - Ruby has inflicted her share of pecks on the girls! But never been on the receiving end until now!

    Hi Petoskystone - Good tip, I'll make sure I'm armed!

    Celia
    x

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  11. The best way to make him realise that you're in charge is to embarrass him in front of his ladies; pick him up and cuddle him, or lie him on his back on your knee and tickle his tummy, making sure they can all see!

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  12. Hi Wendy - And making sure I have my oyster shucking gloves on!!! that beak can be lethal.

    He's giving me that "Don't touch, they're all mine!" look with his dark beady eye...


    Celia
    x

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  13. Oooh, ouch! Poor Ruby!

    And I thought keeping chickens was supposed to be a calm, gentle occupation.

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  14. Oh, how does a hen cry "ouch" and do other hens run to her rescue?

    Thank you for your lesson for this city-dweller about how things sort themselves out in the country. I guess that I always knew about what you've described, but have not ever had the chance (cannot call it an opportunity) to see the evidence.

    Celia, would you use this sort of drama in your prints?

    xo

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  15. Hi Dottycookie - The flock will regain an equilibrium soon, it's sad that Ruby has had to bear the brunt of Tarragon's bullying. All was calm this morning.

    Hi Frances - I'm not sure about showing extreme poultry violence in art - but it would be interesting to hint at a tougher side to life in the flock. Hens as well as cockerels can be very cruel to others.

    Celia
    x

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  16. Poor Ruby - glad to hear she's recovering from her ordeal. That boy has some serious 'issues' doesn't he!
    It just goes to show it can happen in absolutely any workplace;)

    Jeanne x

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  17. Hi Jeanne - It's good old nature - red in tooth and claw, or in this case beak! Tarragon's only 'issue' is that his role is to be leader and nothing is going to get in his way.

    Ruby seems to be accepting the situation, bless her.

    Celia
    x

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  18. Me again...yes, it is "nature" and humans should not interfere. But, in a small flock, you might need to take Wendy's advice and do the "chook hypnotising" manouevre. It usually works.
    I only ever knew one Araucana rooster and he was quite docile. Well, compared to that bloody Andalucian!

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  19. Ah, the darker side of keeping chickens. It's not all fluffy chicks, yummy eggs, hope Ruby is doing better now.
    Unfortunately they can be very vicious birds, who would think they have cannibalistic tendencies, they seem so innocent just scratching around the yard, clucking away.
    Hope everything has settled down and calm has been restored

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  20. oh my goodness! I'm a bit speechless - poor Ruby!!

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  21. Thank you Dinahmow, I'll make sure Tarragon knows he can't boss me about!

    Hello Claire - thankfully most of the time my flock is very calm, but the potential for violence is always there - you're spot on, hens and cockerels can be vicious creatures.

    I'm sorry to have shocked you Jacqui, but introducing a cockerel has rocked the boat - and I feel a bit guilty. But things are settling down.

    Celia
    x

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