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Monday, April 2, 2012

Warning: Chicken Talk

Pepper is not as abused as before, but she still gets pecked occasionally. Even when no one pecks or looks at her, she eats warily, head thrust waaaay out, so she can withdraw and be out of reach, I suppose. If Louise looks or walks her way, she runs for her life. I really hate she feels threatened so often. She gives me an egg six days out of seven. She continues to sleep atop the boxes. Thelma and Louise sleep in the top box and the lower box is left for egg laying.

Only Thelma and Pepper are laying right now. About once a month Louise gives me an egg. I suppose her laying days are ended.  She can be a pet. I mean, how else is Pepper going to know her place if Louise doesn't peck her occasionally. I suppose that some would eat Louise. It's not that I am overly fond of her or anything. I suppose it sounds mean of me, but I wish it had been Thelma or Louise or even Pepper that died instead of Fancy.

There is no telling who did it. It is probably a group endeavor, but they have dug a huge hole right in front of the table where I go to look in for eggs. Remember, their blue Rubbermaid boxes sit on a table. So, now I have to try to straddle the hole  to look for eggs. This is not easy on my back and knee. I just wish they would not dig so many holes! 

I just happened to look out the window and they were digging a hole and flopping around right in front of my swing, AND it was right where I like to sit. So, now it will be muddy, and I will be staggering around trying to sit in my place that I like!

Do you know how hens signal danger to each other? There is a steady buk buk buk buk buk about once a second. The hens stand very still. Once, a raccoon was very close. They all made the danger sound and just stood there. I suppose they know they cannot outrun it.They did try and managed to outrun a dog that chased them. What a ruckus they raised as they ran.

Sunday morning, just about sunrise, I was still awake. So, I fed the hens so they would not have to wait until noon. I had put cornmeal into some chicken scraps and chicken broth and fat. Overnight in the refrigerator, it hardened. So, in the used paper plate, it had hardened. I put it down and Pepper jumped to one side. Louise landed in it with both feet. I suppose she was demonstrating her dominance. Silly hen.

Tonight, about 6:30, still light but approaching dusk rapidly, I hear one hen buk buk bukking danger. I told Charlie I had to go and ran to the door barefoot, not ready to do battle and give chase to anything. There was Thelma on the porch rail, right close to the door.

"What is it?"  I looked around. She murmured.  "What is wrong?" Another murmur. "Are you hungry? Did they send you for food?" Another murmur. "Okay, I will be right out. I have food."

I hurried and put on my shoes and got a bit of dry oats. This took less than a minute, so I expected her to be still on the rail or at least in sight. No, as I round the back of the house, she was nowhere to be seen. I continued to the pen, talking and calling to her. She was already in her blue Rubbermaid box with Louise. They cuddle even though there is room for four big hens. Pepper was on top, as usual. I feel sad she cannot cuddle. I should have gotten two hens instead of one.

When they saw I had a food container in my hand (everything in my hand looks like a food container to them) they poked their heads our farther and stood up. I threw out the oats and they flew down to eat. When I last saw them, they were eating like mad.

Last Saturday, I was sitting here, sleep-deprived and hot, wanting to doze in the chair but trying hard to stay awake. The window was up half an inch. I kept hearing a scuttling noise, not a regular sound but intermittent. The sound didn't seem important; I never checked to see what it was. Usually, I do see what a strange noise is that close to the house.

Later, I went out and just happened to notice a box of tomatoes on the ground, tomatoes for the hens. It had been ravaged by the hens. Now, I wish I had peeped out the window to see was helping herself.

Chickens are so smart. I think they just act dumb to throw us off.

Last Wednesday exbf was outdoors and checked for eggs. I think this is like camp for him. He loves to be around the chickens once a week. He reports to me the cute things they do. However, he wants nothing of chickens at his house permanently.

Anyway, he told me that he checked for eggs after Louise had been on the nest for awhile and left. But, he said the egg looked deflated. Now, I was in pain and sleep-deprived crazy. But, this I had to see. The egg looked like a deflated balloon.When I lifted it up by the edge, lots of liquid was underneath. It was definitely a soft-shelled egg. That day, I increased their egg shell ration. Actually, I had been remiss in giving them crushed egg shells for about a week. Bad me.

Your turn
Hmmm, I published and this part was left off.
Do your hens dig lots of holes and right where you don't want them. What do they do that amuses you? Do you eat the ones that don't lay? Do they ever give the danger signal? Do you have a bully hen? What else are your hens up to lately?


  1. Great post...I enjoyed it. I feel really sorry for Pepper as well.

  2. Lindam,
    Thanks. If I thought Pepper would have a friend, I would go get another hen. Pepper would probably join in the tormenting.


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