Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Musical Chickens

Remember those sweet little chicks we purchased a little while back?

 We bought nine because we know some of our hens are aging out of laying and we wanted to have a younger generation contribute.  We initially planned on keeping six of the nine and selling the other three to friends who wanted to add a few more to their flock without have to worry about setting up for small chicks (heat lamp, secure housing, etc.).

Well, those little dearies grew up.  The kids were (for the first time) brave enough (and interested enough) to continue holding them beyond the wee-chick stage.  So, for the first time ever, we had tame chicks, now pullets.  The weekend our friends took their chicks home one of our Buff Orpingtons hatched out six chicks.  We haven't had a hen successfully hatch out chicks in awhile.  And, the times they have, three was the most, no matter how many eggs they were setting on.  We were thrilled, but that meant even more chicks.

Jamey moved them to the nursery box in the chicken house (a 3x3 foot wooden box with a chicken wire lid complete with their own food, water and straw) to give them their own space. 

The pullets (still in the chicken tractor) were still too small to move out into the chicken yard with the adults.  They would've been chased through the fence mighty quick, so we called up said friends and asked if they wanted some more pullets.  Thankfully they and friends of theirs did, so they came and picked up all but one of the pullets.  The one they left behind had become Sam's pet.  She was the tamest of the bunch, allowing Sam and the rest of us to hold her, sometimes even falling asleep in our arms.

We were happy to move the hen and her chicks into the tractor and hoped the lone pullet could co-exist with them there.  Within the first 5 minutes, the hen attacked the pullet three times and the pullet attacked one of the chicks once.  Sam was in tears and the rest of us couldn't stand it either.

 So.  At this point, we have a hen and six chicks in the chicken tractor, about 25 hens and one rooster in the chicken yard and the pullet who lives in our yard.  The pullet has been named Hilda (by Sam).  Sam takes her into the hen house at night where she may or may not sleep- every morning when we wake up, she's already in the yard, happy to explore and peck about on her own.

She adores people.  She follows us around, practically asking to be held.   When Miriam holds her, she sways back and forth as if she's holding a fussy baby.  She even followed us into the house when we got home from church one Sunday (and was quickly redirected outside).

I think all the moves are done for awhile.  My head was starting to spin.

Okay.  I have to tack on a little Hilda story.  One evening, at dusk, after we were all inside thinking about bedtime (our kids go to bed early).  I walked past the back door and saw Hilda hanging out right outside.  She got all excited when she saw me, bobbing her head from side to side.  When she realized I was only going to stand there and not come outside with her, she tried to roost on the top lip of Jamey's boot, a pretty precarious spot.  Sure enough, soon the boot began to wobble and she had to jump up and onto the lip of the shoe basket.  That wasn't quite to her liking either, so she hopped up onto the water pump box.  By now, the entire family had gathered just inside the storm door to watch her.  Once she saw all of us there, peering out at her, she stood up and looked as if she was going to jump down.  The kids started coaxing her shouting, "Jump, Hilda, jump!"  She kept adjusting her feet and then all of a sudden that silly bird flew right into the storm door window at (my) head level.  She dropped to the ground, unharmed, shook it off and walked away almost as if to say, "I meant to do that."  We couldn't believe she would try to jump to us like that.  Jamey and I kept looking at each other and laughing.

So now Jamey and Sam plan to train her to fly into their arms.  We may have enough antics around here to start our own circus after all. Pin It


  1. great story ,I almost thought you were gonna say Miriam tried taking Hilda to bedtime with her--lol

  2. If you train her to fly into your arms you will have some VERY freaked out guests. Been there, done that. I didn't *train* mine to do it, but they did, and I had several people think they were being attacked. :-)

  3. I had a pet chicken when I was little. Her name was Ruffles. She followed my all over the yard. I'm glad you posted about Sam's new pet. I hadn't thought about my pet chicken in a long time.

  4. I enjoyed this *farm-life* post my friend...very different from what goes on around here! :) I think early bedtimes are great! Have a happy summer!


  5. So funny! Thank you for sharing and giving me a glimpse into life with chickens. Maybe someday we will have a place in the country and can have some chickens of our own.

  6. That is so sweet! I had to look up the term "pullets" though. You're making me want chickens! How are hens typically when they stop laying? Do/can you eat them or are they too tough then?

    1. You can eat them, but they are best stewed or cooked in the crock pot because they can be tough. Ours participate in a type of hen retirement program. After years of laying for us, I can't bring myself to eat them.

  7. The Girl Who Thinks She's a Bird said Hilda is the perfect name for a chicken. :) Well behaved chickens are such a blessing.


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