True stories of a small flock of remarkable individuals -- and other critters.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


.  .  .  .  continued from the previous post: SILENT MORNING

Lil'White has a passive-aggressive streak.
Here's what she does to annoy the gals:
She hogs the nest-box.

She doesn't necessarily lay an egg...sometimes she sits there all puffed up and serious-like, and never lays anything.
Lucy and Pigeon walk in and look at her, walk out, walk in again, impatiently waiting their turn.

This just makes Lil'White sit there longer.

She's not broody.  The sound of a little chicken-scratch being tossed on the ground is all it takes to rouse her from the nest, and she forgets all about brooding.

But on a recent hot sunny day as I worked in the studio, I looked out the window and noticed Lil'White hadn't come out... for hours.  I went to check on her. 
When I opened the lid of the nestbox,

she looked up at me with her beak wide open, gasping.

It was really hot in there.
I lifted her out  and placed her on the grass, offered her some water but she could barely stand up, let alone drink.

So I whisked her across the yard to Marky's brand-new supersized water bowl and I plunked her feet in the cool water.
Marky wasn't sure he liked that.

I put her back on the lawn but she still wouldn't drink - she just kept gasping.
So I lifted her golden wings and patted water in her armpits.

Although I was concerned for her, I did enjoy this rare moment communing with my beautiful stand-offish Orpington... She'd never tolerate such attention when she's feeling well. 

After about 20 minutes Lil'White took a drink and began to perk up a bit, so I took her to a shady place where Lucy and Pigeon were grazing.
Lil'White just stood where I'd placed her. 

Now, Lucy and Lil'White have never been close.  They are flock-mates, they're cordial, but it's not a friendship, and they do not gravitate toward each other.

So I watched with interest when, as soon as I placed Lil'White on the lawn, Lucy limped slowly over to her and sat down beside her. It was clear that Lucy understood what had happened to Lil'White, and was showing concern for her.

Lil'White, oblivious to Lucy's gesture, turned and walked away. 

And that was o.k. because that was Lil'White.
I think Lucy is just.... different.
I have never met another animal, nor many other people, as sensitive, compassionate and dignified as Lucy is.   

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
As for the hot henhouse,  I solved the problem right away. I cut a new window for some cross-ventilation, and it's much cooler in there now.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Next blog post:  SPRING ROBINS


  1. I want to come draw with you and meet Pidgeon! Another terrific post, Lucy is such a sweet soul!

  2. Wonderful story and I am glad it ended well. I imagined this being read to a group of kids - and I think they would have liked it as much as I did.

  3. You must have been a chicken in an earlier life! Your intuition for treating their ills is uncanny... splashing water in Lil'White's wingpits: LOL!

  4. I agree, your chick-tuition is impressive! Glad I can learn from you. As always, love the story and the sweet way you capture their little chicken personalities. I am very proud of Pigeon and cannot wait to read about her library adventure.

  5. So cool!

    Yesterday I took 2 of my pullets to my son's pre-school "field day". We were one of the stations where the little ones could stop and pet a chicken. The ages of the children went from 2 - 4.

    I thought my cochin Constance would do well, but she got really stressed out and overwhelmed, but she didn't take it out on the kids. But my BLRWyandotte Dr. Beverly Crusher did fantastic! By the end of the morning she was simply sitting on my lap all comfy-like and letting the kids pet her.

    It is very easy to become a Chicken-vangelist!

    And, as always, love peeking into your chicken life. This is quite possibly my favorite blog ever.

  6. THANK YOU, Lauren & Pigeon, for coming to GARDEN DAY! What a great time, and such beautiful weather! Everyone enjoyed meeting Pigeon and hearing all about your chicken adventures! I think your mission of increasing the chicken population in Upton is worthy of further pursuit! thanks again!

  7. How fortunate that you checked on Lil White! It's scary to think that she'd just sit in there and die of a heat stroke!

  8. Aw that lucy :) i think i just got a tear in my eye from reading about her caring personality.

  9. I just found your blog, and I'm captivated! I'm so glad you found Lil'White before it was too late. I'm new to keeping chickens and I lost my favorite hen this summer in that very way. Jones died in the nesting box. I still can't believe how much I miss her. She was only in my life a short while, but she made a big space there when she left.