Wednesday, August 31, 2011


When we took our incidental rooster to live at my sister-in-law's (that's a whole different blog post) she offered us two of her little Bantam hens in exchange.

M&L stirred up the flock, feathers flew, and each emerged with a small, worried hen. M chose Oreo, the little Silver Laced Wyandotte. L brought home Clover, a tiny Barred Rock. They are Cochin Bantams, with fancy feathers decorating their feet and enough fluff behind that they look like little old ladies in fluffy peignoirs with fuzzy slippers.

Clover is always the last hen out of the coop in the morning. Everyone else is making a run for the scratch grains I've tossed out, and Clover is standing in the coop wondering where everyone went. Then, out she hops. I can usually tell if she's gotten separated from the rest of the girls. I'll be upstairs and I can hear Clover wandering around outside calling plaintively and with some confusion.

She gets carried around a lot. Tucked in L's arms, usually, where she'll be fed choice morsels of berries and tomatoes that she doesn't normally get if she's having to fend off the other chickens. They're quicker than she is, and sometimes she seems to be saying, "Oh, no, after you. Oh pardon me, you may have it."

Clover has had several adventures. Mostly involving the Dalmatian. There was the one time when he was let out and we thought all the hens were in the front yard. We came outside to find Clover feathers in one downy pile near the back porch. The Dalmatian was banished and sat with a very guilty look on his face. It was not a good moment. I dreaded finding a little hen body.  The girls were in tears, and L's friend LA was holding vigil with us.

We looked everywhere. Sorrowful comments memorialized Clover and her sterling qualities. And then LA found her. She had stuffed herself beneath the porch steps and appeared to be stuck. "She's ALIVE!" the girls yelled.

I pried away the lattice that surrounded the porch, and she bolted away, across the yard. L picked her up. "She's fine, she's fine!!' she called, clucking over the little hen. I held my breath, preparing for the worst. But she really did seem fine. Her feathers were a bit ruffled, and she had a story to tell the other hens, but she was fine.

We carefully put her in the coop. She'd had a run in with Kipper once before, and managed to fly right over the fence, and this time I'm betting she did a fair amount of wing flapping.

 Clover seemed to take it all in stride. I opened the coop door the next morning and she was, as usual, the last one out, taking her time, calling out from the coop, then happily wandering along, being doted on and offered choice morsels, laying a small egg every other day.

She's the only hen whose wings haven't been clipped. She just seems to get into a fix now and then, and I think she's used her wings to her advantage. 

Our neighbor's 4-year-old asked to pet a chicken, and of course Clover was offered up as the flock representative. "Can she fly?" he asked as he worked up the courage to pet her. Not as high as she'd like to sometimes, I thought.

"A little," I said.

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