Headcanons part 17: poopeh babbehs (by ZealousBadIdea)

The whole idea of “poopeh” babies was programmed into fluffies as a way to increase the survivability of “good” colored foals while simultaneously reducing the amount of resources on undesirable colored foal. The fluffies were programmed with an innate hierarchy of colors and tied this to the maternal instincts of the fluffy.

Now, this instinct from the programming is actually rather weak. If left to it’s own devices, a fluffy mother will still love and care for all her children but will show preferential treatment to her foals lining up with the programmed color preferences. Under ideal conditions with regular access to food, all the foals will get their fill of milk but the “poopeh” ones will be feed last with what ever milk is left and therefore will get less than it’s siblings. It should still get enough to survive but will usually grow to be slightly smaller and weaker than its siblings due to receiving less nutrients during development. It should be noted that while the “poopeh” will get less love and attention from their mothers, they will still get plenty of it and should still get the same amount of perceived emotional love from its siblings as any other foal would get.

While it is possible to further suppress the preferential color instinct through training by a human owner, it can never be completely eliminated. In fact, the mother will always have a “favorite” baby but this will often come down to what ever the fluffies favorite color is or what they think is pretty. This is mostly attributed to a fluffies innate child-like way of thinking. The favorite will be feed, played with, and hugged first but won’t actually get any more of anything than it’s siblings get. The mother will still rotate the foals during feeding to make sure they get a more or less equal amount, the favorite will simply be at the start of every feeding cycle.

The emergence of bad-mammas, where they abuse, reject, or down right kill their “poopeh-babbehs” or even their “not-pretty-babbehs” can come about through a number of causes. The first is through mental, genetic, or programming damage. Any of these can result in a mother having a diminished maternal instinct which then makes them far more likely to give into their foal color preference instincts as there isn’t the mother’s love to get in the way of the programming. Mutations or program degradation can also result in a much stronger foal color preference programming which causes the instinct to become much harder to resist. The onset of bitch mare syndrome will also almost always lead to an over expression of the color preference instinct, among other things.

The next stimulus that can cause an increase in the foal color preference instinct is encouragement from humans. This is most often seen, usually done so purposefully, in fluffy mills where the workers encourage and reinforce the behavior in order to keep up with high demand for salable foals. This can also been done unintentionally in pet stores and backyard breeding where the fluffy mothers will see their colorful children be praised, played with and adopted while their “poopeh-colored” children are ignored. They may take it to mean that there is something wrong with them and come to associate the color with the baby being “bad”. Interestingly enough, the opposite can also happen. If the mother is overly attached to her children and sees her brightly colored children taken while their brown babies get to stay with them, they may start to see brown as a good color and all other colors as bad.

The last way in which an overactive foal color preferential behavior can occur is if the mother has been spoiled by their owner or is just bratty by nature. If the fluffy is spoiled, they will come to expect to get only the best things in life and this can even extend to their children; they will believe they should get only the prettiest colored foals and anything less is unacceptable. They will then mistreate any foals that don’t live up to this standard. They will also be heavily affected by the foal preferential color instinct as it plays into the beliefs they already hold, that certain colors are better than others and that she only deserves the best. This almost always leads to a “bestest-babbeh” being chosen and spoiled which will then become a self perpetuating cycle of behavior if not stopped.

The behavior of feral herds mistreating “poopeh” fluffies is usually the result of an escaped spoiled mother influencing the herd, either directly or though successive generations. This is often the case because spoiled domestic fluffies are far more likely to run away to have babies. This is not to say that breeder fluffies that were taught the behavior from humans getting out and influencing a herd doesn’t happen, it is just far less common. Fluffy herds can also develop the behavior over time if it is an old herd as they have spent more time without human supervision and will then lean more heavily on their instincts and thus will be more inclined to act on the foal color preference drive. Combine this with harsh conditions that force the fluffies to make hard choices and you see fluffy mammahs neglecting their brown foals in favor of their other children or eating them first in times of starvation.

Poopeh babbehs and fluffies can develop organically in feral herds that have had no contact with humans. A mother will be influenced by her “instincts” and treat all her foals fairly but will treat the poopeh babies ever so slightly worse. Her female foals will grow up, have foals if her own and, having learned to parent from her mother, will treat her poopeh babies slightly worse. This will continue through the generations getting incrementally worse until poopeh fluffies actually become an ostracized “slave” class in the herd. This occurrence is rare though as feral herds tend to treat their members in a more utilitarian manner, valuing usefulness to the herd over just looks. In addition, the high mortality of foals due to starvation, predation, and miss-adventure causes many feral mothers to value any children they can keep regardless of color.