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Apr 29, 2008

Sweet Innocence

Rocky and friends mosey around the yard, scratching and pecking, cackling sweetly at their finds in the moist earth, totally unaware that they are in danger at this time. We may be losing our home and that means they too may be losing their home. I have not made a post to this blog for a month because all my energy, which is rather low at this time, has been devoted to dread. Dread. A horrible feeling. If not for the beauty, innocence, and love of our chickens, we might not have made it through Black March.

Apr 2, 2008

Chickens Have Feelings Too

I have been observing nine ornamental Bantams (seven hens and two roosters) for nearly one year. I have a large screen porch that is used as a living room during the spring, summer, and most of the fall. Rocky is the lead rooster (picture left).

I have a dining table and chairs, long table with coffee pot and microwave, couch, several easy chairs on the porch which faces west into a park-like area of about one acre. Our chickens free roam. They are fascinating to watch and hold my interest for long periods of time.

Rocky the orange rooster is the flock leader without question. DarthVader, raised from a small chick, gets put in his place by Rocky quite often. Whitie is Rocky's wife and lover. HennyPenny is a small black hen that has the personality of Aunt B on the old Andy Griffith shows. She raised DarthVader and six other chicks, all of whom are full grown now.

Each chicken has his or her own personality and has formed relationships with all the other chickens. One hen, Quail, because she isn't an ornamental chicken like the others but looks more like a quail, is a loner for the most part. The others put up with her but don't hang out with her. She stays close to them wherever they go but she has to follow on her own.

Rocky is most interested in the welfare of Whitie (aka Marilyn Monroe), who he has always loved deeply. If I toss little bits of cheese out to them, he'll gather up a few pieces and drop them in front of Whitie for her enjoyment. When she goes into the henhouse to lay an egg, he paces back and forth outside the hen house until she is done. If she takes a long time to lay the egg, he gets concerned and goes inside to make sure all is well then comes back out and paces some more.

Darth Vader (black rooster) and Fuzzy Top (hen), both raised by Rocky, Whitie, and Henny Penny from small yellow chicks, were always good friends and if you saw one, you saw the other. But as they matured, Rocky forbade Darth to mate with her. To make his point, Rocky mated with her instead. Darth never tries to mate with either of his hen mothers, Whitie and Henny Penny, but he will try to mate with Fuzzy Top anytime Rocky is not watching.