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

Friday, December 17, 2010


She's an Ameraucana. Puffy cheek-feathers, little pea-comb.
She and Daisy were born this spring.  
Daisy started laying eggs four months ago, but Fern
has shown no sign of ever laying any stupid ol' eggs, 

Fern's just too busy to grow up.

She's always on her toes.

Fern is quick to warn the flock of danger, 
using the universal chicken-alarm that is reserved for hawk sightings, foxes and other very scary things:

She's a vigilant little chicken, on guard for any threat.
Yep, always on the lookout for danger.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 

Fern's at the very bottom of the pecking order. 
Normally you'd expect a hen in that position to be timid and to keep out of everyone's way.

But Fern -- she breaks all the rules of chicken-etiquette.      Never charge full-speed at your superiors.

This always results in a good plucking.


Never fly over the dog.

She's had some close calls with that one.

And this--- 
If you're unfamiliar with chicken-etiquette, this may look like a cute little dance.
But let me tell you.

This is Fern challenging Pigeon, the TOP CHICKEN, to a duel. 
This is so totally rude.   I mean you just don't do this if you want to live.
But Pigeon's not offended. She's amused. 
Pigeon adores Fern.
So she gives her a swift little tail-plucking and sends her on her way..

Here Fern's coming back for more.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

With all this plucking going on, I've managed to collect some nice samples of her plumage billowing around the yard:

And here's how those feathers looked when they were still attached to Fern:

Another endearing little visual:

Fern's butt-feathers are in the shape of a heart.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

I let the girls out for some free-range time every day.
And every day Fern sprints from the forsythia to the bird feeder and back again - over and over and over.
It's an adorable sight. 
Took me a while to see exactly what she is doing:

She's chasing birds.

Chickadees, Nuthatches... 

What is going through her tiny little chicken-head?
Is she racing them?
Does she think she's a chickadee?

She's a free-wheelin' little mystery, Fern.

And Pigeon is a mystery to me too --
that she understands Fern's playful taunting.
Her sensitivity to all the individuals in her flock is uncanny. post: PIGEON: Blind Wisdom


  1. Your posts just keep getting better and better! I love how you find the aesthetic beauty of your flock is one of my favorites. Keep on keeping on. The world needs more of what you've got to offer, Lauren.

  2. Typo! I love how you find the aesthetic beauty in your flock and share it with us. The heart-shaped butt feathers… one of my favorites.

    Note to self: write once, edit twice.

  3. Fern is my hero - love your stories and sketches and pictures - they brighten my day. Be sure Fern keeps warm....she has less insulation now!

  4. This is probably my favorite post so far! What a delight!!

    I love your combination of drawings and photos and Fern's heart shaped butt had me laughing out loud!

    Now, I've got to go look at my chickens butts to see if any of them are heart shaped!

    Thanks a LOT!


  5. As always, a wonderful post!! Your blog is such a joy, thank you!!

    Side chicken note: How old if Fern? That's pretty "remarkable" that her compatriots started laying 4 months ago and she hasn't! Are you sure she doesn't have a hidden little nest somewhere full of blue eggs?

  6. I love Fern! She is an independent spirit!!! I agree that a chicken should never fly OVER a dog. My lady also says that if a chicken MUST fly OVER a dog said chicken must not squawk in pealing tones! Tee hee.

    We recognize that Fern-stare in preparation for a flying leap at Pigeon! Silly Fern!

  7. What a delightful post. Fern has a remarkable spirit for being at the bottom of the pecking order. Sometimes God gives even chickens a extra something.

  8. I have an EE that looks like Fern! Aren't they just the funniest?

  9. i'm in love with fern and like nancy k, i'm going to look at MY chicken butts too !! Mel x

  10. Yay! My week is complete! I have been waiting for this, and you did not disappoint!!! You are THE chicken whisperer!

  11. Too funny... And we have an EE like this. But whatcha expect, her name is Nick. (short for Nikolai). And she's all white. We always say she reminds us of that friend that annoys everyone but gets to hang out anyway. Mostly because she's always been around, and they can't get rid of her. :) Thanks for putting into such wonderful pictures and words all the funny things our chickens do.

  12. I can't help but thinking perhaps Fern is a he....she sure acts like a he! Adorable post as usual!

  13. Fern is adorable. . . reminds me of my ameraucana! Can't wait for the next post!

  14. Loved your blog, very sweet story's Thank you so much.

  15. Fern and Mei are a lot alike :) Mei didn't lay until September and are other girls started laying a good month and a half before. She too was always running around like the sky was falling. Then when she started laying, she calmed down a lot. Now she runs to us with the other girls and lets us pick her up.

    Great post, as always!

  16. I seriously think you have one of the best blogs ever. I love it. I love your stories and the way you capture moments. I love your illustrations. I love your chickens.

  17. Very cute! Always love seeing your illustrations and reading the stories. Easter Eggers are always a hoot, too. Our one Easter Egger hen is especially very "different" in personality from our other grown hens.

  18. We have a little girl named Clarabelle who is the daughter of our Americauna rooster and Barred Rock hen. She is black and looks like one of the Beatles with her funny face and Beatle haircut. She also loves to chase birds and has such a determined attitude. The hens will chase her off the high roost several times and she will fly right back up every time. We love her!

  19. I had a black Australorp hen named Stuart (yes, a hen) who chased birds away from the bird feeder (especially mourning doves). The doves would fly up and land on the fence and then Stuart would jump up at the fence to get them "all the way out" of her yard!

  20. we at hens on a hill have a Ameraucana tha is exactly like fern.But a few days ago during a snow storm she laid her first BLUE egg.So maybe one day you will also find an egg.

  21. Loving the heart shaped bum! And I am also loving your creative blog--so much to see. Thanks for stopping by today, it's nice to make new friends! :)

  22. Agh your illustrations are so damn cute and so darn accurate! Thanks for making me smile!
    ps Their knickerbockers are so adorable aren't they! Love seeing thme bum up busily pecking in the dirt, fluffy pantaloons showing!!

  23. I can not stop laughing at the heart on her little chicken butt! I love your blog!