"Oats," says Patsy Cline (left). "Perfect."
She seems to be a sweet hen and catches on that she can follow me to the porch, mount the steps, and I will say, "Okay, okay, just a minute, just a minute, I will be right back." She goes to the grass and waits. I throw something to her and Thelma.
When Patsy Cline quit laying, I was stymied. Maybe she is not getting enough protein? Maybe there is something wrong with her?
Every morning, I give the two girls regular Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats right from the same box I use for my breakfast. Plus, they get any kitchen scraps. For a few days I have been watching closely at what each eats when I go out in the morning. Thelma goes straight for meat scraps, while Patsy Cline devours the oats. Hmm...
This morning I decided to give them meat first and leave the oats until later in the morning, a few scraps of baked chicken with Mrs. Dash Chicken Spices on it while baking. I opened the pen gate and they eagerly came around my feet, looking up at the saucer in my hand. I sprinkled the pieces I had diced up for them. As the diced pieces landed, Thelma was pecking quickly. Patsy Cline went forward also, looked down at the chicken, looked around, looked back up to the saucer in my hand, looked at me, ran around frantically, and just seemed confused. Thelma ate all the chicken except for a few pieces when I just gave up.
A little disappointed that Patsy Cline got no protein, I left. She ran to the last tiny piece of chicken and just looked at it, looked around again. Suddenly, she darted out, following me, making little begging noises. I turned and looked at her. She stopped dead in her tracks and looked off into the distance as if to say, "I'm not following you." Each time I started walking, she did the same thing. Finally, I got dizzy from whirling around to catch her. Well, I did not whirl, just whipped my head around.
Patsy Cline followed me all the way to the house! She sounded so pitiful. In about thirty minutes I went back with oats. I think I saw a chicken in ecstasy. She was so happy. Later, I threw frozen carrots out the back door that had been thawed. Thelma and Patsy Cline pecked at a few pieces and left them. Later, I threw the bruised half of a banana and the peel into the yard. They ate all the banana. Of course, when I closed their pen. I had to clean up the peel and two pieces of carrot from the ground by the steps.
Feeding her what she likes means she would just eat oats! This is toddler behavior. The only thing I can think of is to put half the food outside the pen while Louise comes out to get it and put the other half of the protein in the pen and lock Patsy Cline inside until she eats. They both eat out of boredom when locked in. Or, maybe they are just hungry and desperate.
The sight of her running after me, frantically begging will be with me forever. Thelma got a double ration of protein, so she will continue her giant egg habits.
The wisteria recovers the fence, unfortunately. sigh
Have you ever had a chicken so wild about oats or one food that she just refused to eat unless she got her "regular" food, her favorite?