As a teacher I occasionally have to deal with bullying and neglect. It is saddening in both cases but I never thought my own assumptions would blind me to the fact that I myself was the source of the problem.

For a while now I have observed one of the girls not mixing socially with the other three. She seems not to outwardly mind this ostracisation but as we teachers know; they are only trying to be brave. I saw the bullying at eating time, and I saw it in the times in-between. Then one day the eggs laid became three instead of four. I suspected that low emotions were the route cause. I shrugged my shoulders and reminded myself that they were chickens and not teenagers and so I should not concern myself. For a few brief moments I remembered the limestone chips I should be throwing out for them but dropped this thought as the other three eggs were strong and healthy. I shrugged my shoulders again.

After nearly five days of the egg famine from the one hen I though I might have to step in with an application of Vaseline. I did not relish this, but needs must. Then in a last-ditch attempt at avoiding the horrid, I threw out some limestone chips. The hens went mental. The next day the grass was in shreds at the chalky carnage and an extra pale egg was produced. The next day another pasty looking egg arrived. Then the next day the egg looked normal and the production line was back in full swing. I no longer shrugged but instead hung my head in shame.