The Flock

Although my grandfather was a chicken farmer and I worked on a farm with 10,000 chickens for about four years, I didn’t have anything to do really with either enterprise. My Grandpa lived in a different state and we only visited on vacations. Once he brought us two ducks as a gift. They stayed in the bathtub for a few days until we moved them to a more suitable duck location. I played with some baby chicks, watched some chickeny antics, and admired some of my Grandpa Truman’s more interesting birds. He bred fancy show chickens. I only made it down to the area with the 10,000 chickens at the other farm every couple of weeks or so and did not have much to do with them. Maybe I’d watch some antics or visit the peeps, but no more. And so, ends the list of my experiences ever caring for a bird. Until Mrs. Fancy arrived, no one at the Sly Farm ever owned a bird.

Chickens might be one of the best pets ever. They have personality. They are fun to watch. I can stand and watch the flock scratching in the rose garden and the minutes slip away. We handle our chickens A LOT and they are very friendly. And they lay eggs. The do have their drawbacks. I definitely do not care for the dead chicken sprawl. It is unnerving every time. Chickens are diggers. Do not give them access to any place you do not want major excavation work completed. And frankly, any bird is a much better pet if their coop or cage is cleaned OFTEN.

Chickens do not do well alone. Our daughter brought home two. And we named both of them. Mistake #1. Do not name the chickens until they have either laid an egg or crowed. Fluffy was a roo. Alas, we did not learn our lesson. We brought home two ‘girl’ chicks. And named them. Mistake #2. And yes, only one was a pullet. Veco, aka Volcom Room. Harley Quinn was actually a roo and since we had NAMED him, he went to a goat farm in Phelan rather than freezer camp.

All 3 chickens trying to use the same secret spot behind the giant bird of paradise.

All 3 chickens trying to use the same secret spot behind the giant bird of paradise.

We have friends with chickens. And they took pity on our unlucky rooster acquiring ways and gave us a hen. She was nearly full grown- otherwise, Mrs. Fancy and Veco probably would have killed her. And over the course of about a week, we introduced the little red hen to the flock. It really did help that she was bigger than the other two hens. And as she was a pullet and had not yet laid an egg, we solemnly swore not to name her. Little Red Hen (yeah, the non-naming was an EPIC fail) finally laid her first little pullet egg and then, we had three layers.

During the short time Mrs. Fancy was a lone chicken waiting for the new chicks to grow up, she developed a few odd habits. Firstly, any time anyone went into the backyard, she would head straight for that person. Mrs. Fancy is a white leghorn, a supposedly standoffish chicken, but I guess she must have been lonely. She would then follow that person through the yard, sticking like glue to their shadow. I probably stepped on that poor chicken half a dozen times. When we began introducing her new flock mates to the backyard, her first reaction was complete disinterest. “What are those things? And why must us people share our space with them? Mrs. Fancy would try to follow us into the house. Eventually, she warmed up to the other birds and started hanging.

The flock now consists of two black australorps, one golden lakenvelder, and Mrs. Fancy. We have gotten the hang of not naming the chickens. LRH had to go live in Yorba LInda because after we finished building their deluxe coop, she complained about being cooped. Long, loud, and constantly. The girls we have now don’t mind the coop and seem content with their 4 levels.

Chickens and heat


Introducing new peeps into the flock