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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Please scratch my Fancy

Fancy in her chair, talking to me

My hen likes to be scratched! She just loves people. This is such cheap amusement. I don't need a wild safari. I have Fancy.

My exbf was doing some yard work for me yesterday. As he sat at the patio table outside the side door, taking a break, the hens came around to the side of the house where he sat. Of course, they present themselves for the dastardly act the rooster usually performs. They have no rooster to perform this obligatory service. Little Fancy (all hens) spreads her legs on the ground to brace herself for the rooster pounce and sort of pulls her wings up and slightly out. I liken it to sticking your elbows out and shrugging your shoulders at the same time.

He said Fancy seemed to like being scratched. She lowered her wings and sort of let them hang. Usually, chickens have their wings held neatly and closely to their bodies. When they become overheated in the summer, they let their wings droop and hold them out from their sides to relieve the heat they feel. Of course, they walk around with their mouths open and the combs sort of droop.

Anyway, Fancy was still out there when I came out with a snack and drink. He showed me where he scratched--just above the tail, where you can see the demarcation of feather groups. The other hens don't hang around us. She does.

Okay, if you put your hand on your hen's back when she presents herself to you, Almighty Food Procurer, and then give her a little firm shake on her back, she thinks the deed has been done. Afterwards, she will give herself a good shake, "Whew, that's over with."  Yes, but that was safe s**!

Fancy never stays long after the back patting or shaking. However, she kept returning for the back scratching. Amazing. Maybe hens don't appreciate the swiftness and violence of the rooster. Someone, teach rooster's better technique. I would, but I am terrified of roosters.

By the way, that broken chair was relegated to the chicken's pen.

Your turn
Try this back scratching with your hen and let me know what happens. Do your hens seems to like this?


  1. I called TSC for the 15th time to find out when the chicks are due in, and they should be in on Monday! I am going to need all the pointers I can get as a new mom. :-)

  2. SB, I brought home ten chicks from the farm in a 12"x12" cardboard box. They lived in that for about four days old. It seemed they tripled in size. Then, I got a little larger cardboard box. Each box was put inside a plastic container. The idea was that they box inside the container would keep them warmer. I put a lamp beside the box for warmth--60 watt bulb. I covered them with a towel at night. During the day, I pulled it back a bit.

    I bought a six, eight hole round waterer. They walked and pooped in it all day. I cleaned it all day. Some people say to use a shallow, small bowl and put water in it. Put rocks in it so they won't drown. They ARE going to poop in their water. Sanitary conditions seem hopeless! I put oatmeal and cornmeal down for them to eat at first.

    They have never had shots of any kind or food with any supplements. They may have matured more slowly, but it was natural growth.

    Okay, that is all you need for the first week. Don't let the internet sites make you a nervous chicky mama like it did me. Chicky daddy will love their antics. I kept mine in the house for safety and because I could not stand NOT being able to check on them every three minutes.

  3. Awesome. Great information, thank you.
    Hubby is planning on making their food & water dishes out of plastic sour cream containers.
    We have a rubbermaid tub and I can easily get boxes from work. Great idea about the box in the container. Also, we have the area and lightbulb all set up ready to go. I never even thought about the towel at night.

    We are going to TSC today to get our bearings.

    Thank you for all the great info!
    Be ready for lots of pictures when we get them!

  4. How many chicks? The chicks will immediately jump INTO or on the side of the containers, so have them anchored will...large stones in bottom of each. Put food on the floor for them to scratch. They do it naturally and LOVE to scratch.

  5. Apparently, it is Ohio law that we have to buy 5 of them. So, that's what we will get. We went to TSC today and they have the bins set up, getting ready for them. I cant wait. :-)

  6. I do know that if a person orders by mail, they must get 50 chicks so that the chicks will have lots of bodies in the box to stay warm. Mine came from a farm, so I don't know if the feed supply store has a lower limit on a sale.

  7. Hubby bought 6 chicks today. They are mixed breed pullets. We lost one within 4 hours. :-( I hope to post some blogs on the little cheepers soon! :-)
    Thank you for your help!
    The 5 remaining seem to be up and running around, eating well and drinking too. They are too cute!

  8. That's too bad about the little one. It was probably stressed. You are going to have so much fun watching them.

  9. I've got bad news. We lost another one. We are down to 4. I thought chicks are resilient. I really dont like seeing animals dead. :-( I only want them to grow and prosper. So sad.

    I hope to have pictures and blogs up this weekend about them.

  10. How are you keeping them warm? I did something right because I bought ten and lost none. I really am so sorry that another one died.

  11. Feed them cornmeal that has no salt or leavening and some oats from your own food. Make sure they have plenty of food and water, even overnight. Are they all running around all day? Well, mine huddled near the light for warmth. I did not put a light over them. I put a lamp outside their cardboard box that was inside a plastic box. Are you keeping them indooors?

  12. We have a heat lamp and it is set to 92 degrees. Yes, they are running around. They are inside (in a spare bedroom) in a rubbermaid container.
    I think we may have the hang of things. I think we had two sick ones when we got them. The other four are doing really well. Both hubby and I held them for a little while. I thought "runt" had black feathers on her was actually caked on poop! Hubby was nice enough to take some warm water and get it off (after 20 minutes!) As soon as it was off, she pooped a monster poop. She is still my little runt, but so cute. We've had them for only 4 days, and I swear they've doubled in size.

  13. Yes, that is called pasty butt and will kill a chick. You may have gotten ill chicks, entirely possible. I imagine they have doubled in size in four days. Watch for bald heads and pecking. Mine almost killed on by pecking her bald. She was finally on the ground, unable to get on her feet, but still pecking the grass and ground. I kept her inside for three days, until her hair grew back. But, after one day, I brought in a friend to keep her company. They are social animals. They will like people since you hold them.


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