The new year came in with a nice surprise today and I have a wonderful chicken story to tell (regular readers know I am all about the chicken thing...).
We had lunch with The Farmer's Mom today. It was the traditional New Year's meal of greens, peas, etc. so hopefully we covered all the bases for the coming year. I am not too sure what the incredible chocolate cake we had for desert bodes for but if it is half as good as the cake, I can't wait!!!
After we finished, we came home to wait for the person who is buying our used van to come by and we were sitting on the sofa talking about it. All of a sudden, I noticed a shadow outside the front window. We have a porch with rockers across the front of our little house and the shadow appeared to be someone rocking in one of the chairs. I thought it might be the van buyer so I got up to look out the window and there was one of our hens sitting on the back of the chair.
The shades were down and she was turning her head back and forth trying to see in. When I opened the door and she saw me, she started clucking and squawking like she had just laid an egg (they do that, you know). I thought she was just doing something "chickeny" so I went back in the house. After I shut the door, she raised the volume on the clucking about 3 notches and started to peck on the window, so I went back outside to see if I could figure out what the problem was.
I should explain that this is the tamest hen we have out of the whole flock of over 100. She also lays one egg a day in one of several old baskets on the porch. I originally kept some of my garden tools in them and when I noticed this little black hen setting in one of them every day, I took the tools out and left the basket for her. The porch wraps around and the basket is usually in the back corner where it is protected from the elements, but it was VERY windy yesterday and it had blown off and I hadn't noticed it.
As crazy as it seemed, I thought maybe that was what she wanted, so I picked up the basket, along with a box and another basket that had blown off, too and put them down on the table for a minute to see if I could put it somewhere where it wouldn't blow off again. Almost as soon as I put her basket down on the table (not the usual spot, mind you) she stopped all the clucking, hopped down from the chair and came running over to me. She jumped up on the table, looked over the basket and hopped in and started settling down to lay her egg. Within 10 minutes, she was cradling her newly laid egg and in another 15 minutes, left and went back to her scratching under the big boxwood by the side of the house.
Her protector is one of the young Delaware roosters and he was there, too, in the bush, watching us. I say protector because he is young and not very "savvy" when it comes to the ladies, so he is kind of odd man out in the rooster club. But he really likes this little black hen because she doesn't peck him all the time like the other hens do (the roosters mostly ignore him because he has trouble crowing...sounds like he has a perpetual frog in his throat). When she got into the basket, he came and stood over her while she laid her egg.
Oh, yeah, I forgot to add that there was a cat sleeping on the table beside the baskets that never moved during the entire process. I have seen this hen get into her basket with a kitten sleeping in it before, so that part didn't really surprise me. Of course, that kitten is deaf and never hears her coming. He generally doesn't hang around once she gets in because she takes up most of the basket and she doesn't like to share. I have never seen her peck him, though, she just pushes him out with her preparations. He just gets up and leaves on his own.
Pictures of the Little Black Hen follow this post.