Friday, September 20, 2013

Chicken Tales, Episode 1

I keep having chicken anecdotes to tell but nobody to tell them to.  I mean, I would, but for reasons I don't entirely comprehend, apparently not the entire world thinks chickens are as fabulously entertaining as I do.  Kara thinks they have creepy feet. They do.  They have these claw feet that wrap around your fingers when you pick them up and they're definitely kinda-- creepy. Although less so if you held them as babies when they had eensy feet and it was cute when they wrapped around your finger. But they also have super soft feathers, and hilarious calls, and they waddle when they walk and tilt when they run and they flap-squawk across the yard when you let them out and divebomb into food we'd never touch like it's the world's best chocolate.  Basically they're awesome.  With weird feet.

So today I'm telling chicken stories.

Helga is the black and white one.  She's a Light Brahma, which is basically the best description you could ever use on her, where "brahma" is a word that makes you think "monster big".  Helga is a tank.  We're pretty sure she's crossed with a hawk.  Her run sounds like "thud thud thud" when you watch it.

Helga has recently learned to lay eggs.  I don't know what her mental hangup was, but she was the last of all six of our girls to lay by several weeks, including her younger best friend, Miss Poppins.  We discovered this new skill of hers one morning when we opened their door to find a smashed egg under the roost where she was sitting in all her hefty glory.  Somehow it's just like Helga to be so clueless that she wouldn't even realize that the thing coming out of her was not just another mammoth-- um, pile of poo.  She does that.  Trust her to think an egg was the same thing.  

Miss Poppins is a Buff Orpington (gold).  She and Helga were raised together, since they were several weeks younger than the other girls.  She's been built small from the beginning which is of particular hilarity because she spends all her time with big Helga.  When they run  next to each other we just about fall over laughing at them because there's Helga thudding along, the ground shaking, and Miss Poppins running alongside her, practically on tip toe, "prink prink prink".  When we let the girls out of their tractor at night (a mobile day coop) she jumps up on the side, launches off, and squawks the entire way across the yard as she flaps to maintain flight.


This is Maggie.  She's an Australorp, and is our current resident cuddle bug.  When you pick her up and pet her she'll tuck her head under your chin and make chickeny sounds.


Henrietta, the freckled one.  She's a Speckled Sussex and she's to blame for the horrible noises we hear coming out of the coop each morning if we don't let them out RIGHT when the sun comes up.  She also yells at our hired man whenever he walks by because he's a human and therefore should also LET HER OUT RIGHT NOW.


The last two are Buffy and Lucy, Buff Orpingtons like Miss Poppins.  Lucy is our champion layer and pretty much never misses a day.  Buffy is pretty non-descript in that she doesn't have any distinguishing character traits.  A lot worse things could be said of a person. Or animal.

This is Helga and Maggie enjoying a dust bath in my raspberry beds.  Chickens LOVE fluffy dirt, and I'm not entirely sure what joints allow them to flip around in it like they do, but somehow they do full revolutions just by floofing their feathers and kicking.
chickens in a dust bath


The girls think they own the place.  If they're loose in the yard and I open the back door, they come running, expecting food.  And I always turn around to go get them some, because who can refuse that kind of enthusiasm?  And then they walk straight into the house:
funny chickens, chicken entertainment

They LOVE meat.  Anything protein goes down the hatch before the other birds even get a chance.  By the way, egg cartons at the store that say vegetarian?  That's not a good thing.  Chickens are enthusiastic omnivores and if a company can honestly say their chickens are vegetarian, it means they live indoors. It doesn't make for the healthiest egg, which any mom with couch potatoes for kids can tell you.  Outdoors is where health is found.


I find it unbearably cute that the chickens know where to come for help.  We had owls attack them several weeks ago and the first I knew about it was a loud squawking and scuffling on the back deck.  I rushed out back thinking the neighbor dog was making trouble again (stupid schnauzer) and as soon as I opened the door, all six of the birds tore inside.  In the hallway.

Multiple times the wind will blow their cage door shut at night before they're ready for bed.  I don't tend to know about this until I hear a chicken yelling at the back door, trying to get my attention because "it's dark outside and I wanna go to bed!".  I don't know who coined the phrase "bird brained", but it was either in ignorance of birds' actual mental abilities, or it was meant as a compliment.

One last thought:  I think the term "fuzzy butt" was invented for chickens.

To read more Chicken Tales, please click here.


  1. This cracks me up! I love chickens and all their little quirks.

  2. Great post, love! Makes me want to get a few chickens myself. :-)

  3. They are rather delightfully ridiculous little creatures. :-D