November 5th is a very special day in the chicken keeping community – it is National Hug a Chicken Day. For most chicken keepers, every day is hug a chicken day – but this is our day to share the joys of chicken huggin’ with everyone else.
Though I love all of my chickens, Penfold and I have always had a special connection. She seems to be my hugging chicken of choice on most days. Sometimes she snuggles down into my jacket and falls asleep. Some days she sits on my lap an trills at me as if she’s having her own little conversation.
She gets angry if I pet or hold one of her fellow flock mates, her face turning red as a beat until I decide to pet her instead. Penfold loves for me to rub the back of her head just behind her comb – she just closes her little eyes and drifts away.
Penfold has a unique personality, and is by far our smartest chicken. She prefer’s our company to that of the other chickens. She can be quite aggressive with the other hens and spends quite a bit of time own her own exploring.
Penfold knows what it takes to make you feel better when you feel tired, crummy, or frumpy. All it takes is a little snuggle and a trill, then your day becomes brighter, calmer, and better. She also a great chicken to hug on a good day too!
Hugging chickens is like hugging happiness itself. So if you want a little boost of fluffy happiness in your life – go grab a chicken and give it a little squeeze!
The pecking order is the governing system of hens. I suppose it has parallels in our society: the general sits atop a pecking order, then the colonel, the captain… the private at the bottom. The five star general in our flock is Flannery, a black Australorp. She is a gentle, quiet hen with a dainty trot. In size Flannery is average, and several larger hens are below her in the pecking order. She lets people pet her, but she doesn’t seek attention like Penfold and Quigley. All in all, Flannery is peaceful and unassuming.
Because Flannery sits atop the pecking order, others hen leave her alone—at least most of the time. On one occasion Charlie, our grumpiest hen, mistakenly pecked Flannery on the roost as everyone settled in for night. Flannery unleashed a fury of drop kicks and pecks that sent poor Charlie reeling and squawking.
But only a handful of times have I ever seen Flannery even lightly peck anyone. As far as I can tell, she doesn’t abuse her power. When we introduced the little chickens to the flock, she was the first to befriend them. And I don’t think Flannery leads the flock that I can tell. Usually Penfold, who is rather low on the pecking order, takes the flock one direction or the other, scouting new patches of grass and weeds with her rambunctious nature. Flannery seems fine to follow.
So although Flannery is head hen, she isn’t a tyrant. She walks softly but carries a big stick.
Since dispatching Twister, we are attempting round two of integrating the new girls, Pearla and Josephine, into the original flock. To say the first attempt was a disaster is a major understatement. Integration Round 1 ended with the so-called “earlobe incident.”
One bright, shiny day….with all of the chickens (old and new) in the coop….two roosters became hypnotized by the astounding wiles of one new Josephine. With her exotic plumage and lovely, Cleveland County Fair “ID tag”…..well….it was simply a combination that spelled disaster. At the end of the scuffle that ensued, poor Josephine was left with the majority of her earlobe torn off and two VERY guilty roosters still glaring death at one another.
My solution to this problem was to simply remove Josephine and Pearla from the flock, allow a little healing time from the trauma, and just try again later. We are now in that “trying again” phase.
Round two has resulted in a few hen scuffles…..mainly involving my sweet, little Penfold….and boy can that little girl FIGHT! She ninja drop kicks like a rooster – growling and all! I think she’s been taking “wax on, wax off” lessons from Mini on the sly.
Pen holds nothing back, determined she will NOT be at the bottom of the totem pole this time. Her Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon moves have Pearla utterly terrified — now, all Pen has to do is glance in Pearla’s direction and off Pearla runs.
All in all, it has been easier the second time around. There has been no blood involved…. and we can all be thankful for that.