Thursday, February 23, 2012

Best Buds

Sister, sisters...
You never see one of them without the other one. I can't help laughing at the two Australorp pullets -- the youngest in the coop. We got them from someone nearby when they were just about 8 weeks old. They have always been pretty skittish, and justifiably so as they weren't handled as much as our other chicks. They aren't laying yet, but they should be getting close.

They are highly suspicious of me because I have, on occasion, actually picked them up. This, they think, is beyond the pale and really not done. They protest loudly, and it sounds as if they think I've selected one of them as a soup ingredient. When I put the offended biddy down, she runs for her BFF, and they both glare at me.

They do not go anywhere separately. If you look for one Australorp, the other is always there. One runs across the yard, and the other is close on her scaly heels. They roost together at night, and siesta together during the day.

Their names have not settled on them yet. Poppy, Prudence, Betty, Minnie, Onyx, and Henrietta have all been floated out there, and none seem to really fit. It may sound strange, but some names really fit chicken personalities, and you just can't give a hen a name that doesn't ring true.

I think they need names that go together, since they are such bosom buddies. Ava and Zsa Zsa, Mary Kate and Ashley, or maybe Laverne and Shirley.

Yesterday, M had an appointment, and I had to herd them all into the run since I was going to be gone awhile, and I wanted them to be safely contained. They'd been outside most of the morning enjoying the spring-like temps, and were not really inclined to be cooped up. I tossed some curly lettuce into the run, and all of them except Clover and Australorp #1 went charging in. I cornered Clover and scooped her up, putting her in with her sisters. But Australorp #1 suddenly realized she was Outside By Herself.

If she'd had a cartoon bubble over her head that told me what she was thinking, it would have looked like this:


She turned and ran, wings akimbo, black feathers waving, legs moving as fast as they could go. I tried to follow her calmly, in a non-threatening fashion, thinking I'd corner her and then pick her up. She ran like a fugitive. Zigged, zagged, squawked, flapped, hopped, and panicked. I cornered her more than once, and she dodged just out of reach.

Meanwhile, Australorp #2 and the rest of the hens were watching from the run. I could not tell if they were entertained, unconcerned, or rooting for one or the other of us, because I was running around my yard like a pinball. From a distance, no one would have seen Australorp #1, just me running in halting zig-zags around my backyard. I do recall aiming a colorful invective at her at one point.

Finally, I was able to grab her. She squawked indignantly, and I opened the run door and scooted her inside. She ran to Australorp #2 to tell her all about it. They both looked at me with disdain.

Since then Australorp #1 has steered clear of me, as I am obviously a Predator and must be avoided at all costs. This morning I brought her some of last night's leftover cornbread as a peace offering. Can chickens scowl? Because that was the look she gave me. She did take the cornbread, but only after I moved a fair and safe distance away. I tried to make nice with her, but she'll take more time to win over. And once she starts laying, she should calm down just a little. But in the meantime, she's my little fugitive pullet.

Maybe I should call them Thelma and Louise...


  1. Oh this is a fantastic post Debbie!

  2. Thanks Stefanie -- they are such funny birds!

  3. I've named many a critter in my day for myself , friends and family, but this is the first time to name hens, and the names are not happening yet, I'm studying them. One COULD be Black Betty as she looks totally black at this stage, the other Black sex link already have some gold. another is the poorest looking critter of the bunch and i've rolled over the name of Raggedy Ann.
    seeya, The Best is yet to come,