backyard chickens

As any one with chickens would know, chickens are a constant source of entertainment, flutters and antics, random shoe pecking and quick cuddles. There are always one or two chickens that stand out from the flock, either for their curiosity or odd-ness.

Dandelion & Yarrow were my first 2 favorites (though I love them all!) Dandelion is the first to come running, she seems completely motivated by scratch, lives for it…if I come into the coop “scratch free” she will crane her neck up as far as she can to inspect my hands and poke them looking for her favorite treats. She was also the one and only chicken I had to go broody. She seems to be in a constant state of broodiness, coming out for a month or two then back to sitting on the nest, more determined than ever to have her chicks. Last winter she broke her broodiness just as winter came on, temperatures dropping to -15 while she started molting and looked raggedy and miserable. I had Jane (my wonderful talented neighbor) knit her a sweater to warm her up during the day and added a heat lamp to the coop for the evenings. The first time I put the sweater on her was a bit of a fuss but she seems pretty happy with it once I got her wings and head through the sweater holes, had her picture taken then she flew down to the coop floor, scratching and pecking for food. Success! but only momentarily, after a minute of calm Dandelion became a ball of feathers, squawking and rolling across the coop floor. One of her toe nails had gotten caught up in the bottom of her sweater and she had literally turned herself into a chicken ball rolling across the floor. Funny! but not..I will laugh later when shes not around. Poor Dandelion! A little bit of sweater adjustment, moving of buttons and she is good to go!

Yarrow, a pretty black and white hen, is always friendly, enjoys a hug and doesn’t seem to mind being held as I check out all the hens and gather eggs. She was friendly and curious right from the start while many of the other chicks would flutter and run from me in a panic when I would walk in the coop. Yarrow just recently had a leg injury, I am suspecting my once rooster Lupin for his sudden urge to romp that hurt Yarrow’s leg. I came into the coop and saw her struggling to regain her balance, flopped over and not moving. Without hesitation I walked over to her, picked her up and carried her to the house, wondering what on earth I was going to do with a chicken in the house! Yarrow was calm, quietly cooing and clucking, checking everything out, like she had been waiting for an invite as I filled the bathroom sink with warm water for a bath, as that seemed a likely place to start. Rinsing off her feet, checking for bumblefoot or swelling. She was so cute! No complaints or fuss as she had her warm bath wrapped her in a towel and kept her in the warm bathroom until her feathers were dry. I completely spoiled her with left over tortillini and a bowl of fresh spinach. She spent the next 2 days in the bathroom sitting on the heating vent and seemed to have totally made herself at home. Oh chicken love! Yarrow healed up quickly and is back in the coop under a heat lamp with the other girls as the temperatures drop. More chicken stories to follow…