Monday, September 5, 2011

The Cluck Clique

They hang around together, three feathered amigas: Marigold, Paprika, and Lacy. They are the three hens who aren’t yet laying, and they go everywhere together, like high school girls that have to go to the bathroom in packs.
Roosting in the coop: Marigold, Paprika, and Lacy

Marigold is a Buff Orpington like Gertie, only smaller and not nearly as matronly. Paprika is our little red hen—a Rhode Island Red whose favorite perch is under the patio table. And Lacy is a Golden-Laced Wyandotte. She has beautiful feathers, and until Clover came along, she was at the bottom of the flock, which is why she pecks at Clover whenever the opportunity presents itself.

The three amigas.
The other day, Paprika managed to get herself on the other side of the fence. She was still safely inside the yard, but not with the girls, and she panicked like Henny Penny. I heard her making a racket and went out to try to help. THEN she became panicked because not only was she NOT on the same side of the fence as her friends, but the FOOD PERSON (me) was on the same side of the fence as her and was CHASING her (or, from my human perspective, trying to herd her through the gate.) You would have thought that I was intent on having chicken soup and had my eye on her as the main ingredient, because she was Alarmed.

I stopped trying to help. Marigold and Lacy watched with their heads high and their necks long. Paprika eyed me suspiciously. If a chicken can give the stink eye, that’s what she was doing.

So I decided to ignore her for a while and pretended to be interested only in my potato plants. She began to wonder if I’d found something good in the dirt, and (forgetting for a moment her prey status) came over to see what I was doing. I picked her up and put her on the other side of the fence. She ran to her friends as if she had somehow figured out how to get back to them all by herself. They all three glared at me suspiciously.

I’m not sure which of the three will be the next to lay. Marigold is the oldest, but Lacy seems a little bigger. Paprika is square in the middle in terms of size and age. 

I’ll be curious to see if they remain BFFs once one of their party joins the laying group.  Will the new laying hen go hang out with Violet and Gertie, or stay with her friends?

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know when one of them switches cluck cliques.

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