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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


We humans do it with tweezers and brushes and aftershave and eyeliner.  

In the ladies' room at the restaurant, we line up in front of the mirror, refresh the lipstick, pouf the hairdo, pick that piece of spinach from between the teeth.  

And just like us, chickens have their rituals.

My ladies get together and preen after they've enjoyed a good meal.  

Pigeon preens to put her friends at ease. 
Once Pigeon starts, everyone joins in.

Daisy is an expert preener.  She makes use of the oil gland at the base of her tail to coat every red feather in shiny brilliance. She does a good job -- rain rolls off Daisy like it rolls off a duck.

 Lil'White, being perfect in every way, has no need to preen.  She reluctantly joins in , and finds one rogue feather that needs to be tweaked back in place.
Fern doesn't have time to preen. Just like she doesn't have time to lay an egg.  She does a quick flicking of the feathers, 
and then returns to her primary focus:  to make Lucy's life miserable.
But this time, Lucy has found safe haven on my arm.

And when she's done preening herself, 
she preens me. 

 She's hunting for grey hairs.

You missed one, Lucy.

One day while the ladies were grazing, Fern approached Lucy.  I assumed that Fern intended to peck and torture her as usual.  Instead, Lucy reached over and began to preen Fern.  I believe even Fern was surprised.

Being an Ameraucana, Fern is a "Bearded Lady" of the chicken world.  

so I'm guessing that Lucy had found some tasty crumbs stuck to her beard.   
Still, I was intrigued by Lucy's gesture toward her tormentor.

Fern seemed appreciative.

Marky, like Fern, is not into preening...
...I wonder if I could enlist Lucy to help out. 


  1. Lauren,

    Such a wonderful post. You've captured the way chickens preen so exactly (our littlest combines both preening and the feather shaking techniques.)



  2. Beautifully and perfectly described... isn't it wonderful how each hen is different. I love watching my hens preen.


  3. What a delightful post! Your drawings are even more charming than usual. I do believe that I smiled all the way through this post. Thank you!

  4. I wish I had a chicken hair dresser. Lucky you. I loved this post and your artwork and Marky too.

  5. Love them and you too - you have brightened my day!

  6. I, too, would like to book an appointment with Lucy. This post is an *all day smile*... thank you.

  7. I had to LOL at your preening...I have a chicken who does that to me! LOL

  8. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face :-)

  9. I love this. My silkies only preen themselves because they are vain little things!

  10. I loved this post...but I love all of your posts. Lucy is such a sweetie, bless her. Reminds me of the song 'Beauty School Drop Out' from Grease. :)

  11. How funny that Fern is too busy to preen. My EEs are the same exact way, yet they always look so beautiful!

  12. Haha! You are so creative.

  13. Love your post - just love it! Lulu preens alot especially now that she is molting. Phew! Tiring work! ;)

  14. Your little flock looks just like my little flock. Love your illustrations and the movie clip is great!

  15. OK, the Bearded Lady comp made me seriously LAUGH out loud. :D

    For all the quirky charm and smiles you've brought to so many of us, I chose your place for the Versatile Blogger Award.

  16. I think when Lucy reached over to preen Fern, she was "Loving her enemy". We can all learn from her.♥

  17. Fern does seem to be discombobulated.
    Good ol' Lucy.

  18. Loved your post, but then I always do. So Cute! However, today's was extra special. I had to chuckle when Marky ran into the video in the background. He reminded me of so many students I've had in the past that just had to be in the picture. Waiting in the wings they would jump in at the last minute. ~ Lynda

  19. Fabulous post! I can relate :) I just awarded your blog with the Versatile Blogger award! Stop on by to accept :)

  20. Missed Marky in the background so had to watch video again. Which I wanted to do anyway. Love your artwork the most, though.

  21. Love, Love, LOVE your blog! I read it again and again.

  22. Oh my gosh, I am in LOVE with your illustrations. So absolutely adorable.

  23. I love it! Thanks so much for letting us feature you. I want to be your neighbor.

    Kasse D.

  24. Your girls certainly have personality plus.....

    Have just 'found' your blog and had a lovely but all too brief visit.
    Great pics too

    Must do the dishes and when time permits, shall be back for a more relaxed wander.

    Love chooks, so I'll definitely be back,

    Claire :}

  25. LOL funny from beginning to end, Lauren. pure joy!

  26. Maybe Lucy should be a guest speaker for how to disarm bullies.

  27. Hi Lauren,

    So happy you found my blog so that I could find you! I'm all smiles scrolling through your wonderful work,photos and very humorous captions! Kudos to you!