Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Jumping Jaerhons

Uff-da and Lotte (left) with Pippa. Pippa thinks she's a Jaerhon but can't fly like one.
The Jaerhons are just at point of lay (the bigger one started laying a few weeks ago, and Lotte, the smaller one, doesn't seem too far behind). But they are more like jumping beans than yard hens.

For some reason, Uff-da (M's name for her...I call her Inga), has grass-is-always-greener syndrome. I'll see her hopping impatiently to the top of our tallest fence, then glide down gracefully for a little adventure in the alley. She has explored the roof of the shop, our neighbor's garden, the alley, and our other neighbor's yard. My poor neighbor has come to my door several times because she's worried about our errant hen.

I've tried clipping her wings, but to no avail. The third time I found her wandering around in the neighbor's yard yesterday, I decided to clip both wings. And I clipped all the primary feathers (it's painless--no different than clipping a toenail). She suddenly had these stubby little wings. I felt bad, but figured if it kept her safe, it was a good thing.

Fixed your wagon, I thought to myself as I released her back into the chicken yard.

Less than a minute later, she hopped to the top of the fence, and from the top of the fence to the top of the coop. Then she flew (sort of) from the coop roof to the yard with a slight beak dive, righted herself like a gymnast grimly determined not to fall, rearranged and settled her feathers, then strutted away,  like, "Heh, no sweat. I don't need those feathers."

I groaned, and she headed back to the neighbor's yard. I'm trying not to take her determined defection personally.

I couldn't keep fishing her out of someone else's garden, and I was worried that if she landed in the other neighbor's yard, their dog would get her. Finally, I realized that these little golden hens are the most determined chickens I've ever seen. Stubborn as a... well, as a Norwegian (I do live with three of them).

And so the Norwegian Jaerhons are going to live on K's sister's place, with her nice flock, out in the country where they won't be hemmed in by traffic and clotheslines and neighborhood dogs. We'll still be able to visit them, and I think they will be a little happier. They just aren't meant to be city chickens.

With the loss of Mabel and the Jaerhons, we will suddenly be down to seven hens. Of course, that's likely to change. Chicken math rule #36: There's no such thing as a static number.

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