Since the tragic loss of the exceptional and beloved pet chicken Friendly last fall (I’m still sad), all the other chickens, indistinguishable in looks and behavior, have been just Chicken. Even Naked, once her proud new plumage got a bit dingy, disappeared into the flock.
Now that the hens have been released, there’s one chicken distinguishing herself.
Typically there are three hens that stick very close to the rooster. His girlfriends. They cuddle with him at night while the other four perch over the nest boxes. When he food clucks, the girlfriends dash up to him (as HW says, “Whatcha got, big Daddy?”), and the other hens barely glance up, rolling their eyes, “It’s probably just a stick again”.
I guess it works out for both factions. The girlfriends get the worms, on the occasions it’s not a stick, and the outliers get the goodies all to themselves when they find them.
When they travel together, the girlfriends stay right with the cock at all times, but the others do some outlying.
But now, we’ve got a true independent spirit emerging. Seven, as in, there’s the chickens on the woodpile. Are they all there? 1,2,3,4…5…6, where’s Seven?
It’s automatic to count them, every time I pass, or see them drift by together. And Seven does her own thing, often very, very far from the flock. Too bad. We know what happens out here to chickens who are too independent for their own good.
The very first day i opened the door, I went out and there was one chicken behind the greenhouse. Not another in sight, and she was unperturbed.