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pulled back in

September 21, 2012

Continued construction near the chicken coop is keeping the girls safe from aerial attacks until

we finish the greenhouse and can button up the overhead netting again. The great blue heron has

moved on to do great things with her or his life elsewhere.


Flock politics have taken a surprise turn.  The five old hens have been roosting in one room of

the coop, the new five in the other, as designed.  Wednesday night the two groups mixed it up.

I didn’t realize it, however, because they stuck with the usual five and five dispersal.


So everything looked normal at bed check, when I tell them “goodnight” and thank them for the

eggs, even the non-producers (ya gotta encourage them).  Imagine my marvel Thursday at

morning roll-out when two of the new birds strode out of the old girls side, seeking organic

egg mash.


There were no feathers or cadavers on the sandy floors. That’s a solid first step toward a cohesive

hierarchy, I guess.  Hudi, a few days removed from being scared stiff by the heron, has returned

to her controlling ways.  She may be thwarted, however, by two of the new crew who are both

quite a bit bigger than her.


I had not intended to name the fresh arrivals, but Jude thought better of that.  They were all

given orange leg bands, then Jude added a differently-coloured one  to further distinguish them.

She was wondering aloud about what to name one of them.  This particular bird is the smallest

of the rookies, with a blonde head and delicate, classic facial features.  She keeps to herself.


I looked at her and said “Garbo” without any real consideration.  And that was that.  The other

four quickly became Gilda (after SNL great Radner), Tippi (after The Birds-beset Hedren),

Minelli (after Lisa) and Zy (after a friend of Jude’s son Jin).


So just when I think I’m out of the being-emotionally-attached-to-chickens business, they pull

me back in.  Yesterday I found myself scolding Brenda and Sally for harrassing the younger ones.

Once a parent . . . well, you know the rest.

  1. Gordon permalink
    September 24, 2012 2:01 pm

    And thank you for risking emotional attachment to make it easier for your readers to follow and become attached themselves. Talking about Hudi, or Gilda, or Tippi is so much more engaging than something like “hen number 5 with the orange band on right foot and green band on left foot.”

    • September 25, 2012 9:46 am

      You’re welcome. We have some friends who do just what you described, so they have hens with designations like “the one that likes shoelaces”. But they tell me the pain is the same when one dies.

  2. October 15, 2012 12:02 pm

    I love the names of your new chickens (kids) especially Garbo. From your description I think that it really fits. I also like Minelli too. If I had stayed in Arkansas I was going to get me some Guinies. Alas I will just have to love your chicks!!

    • October 16, 2012 9:30 am

      Garbo has become quite friendly. She often comes over to “chat” when I’m working in the garden.

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