A few months ago our neighbor unloaded five defective chickens on us. His old mother had gotten them as a bunch of straight run laying chicks, and they had already unloaded the dozen roosters they had ended up with on us the year before.
Now she was going on vacation and the five chickens were getting to be too much to keep up with. We were happy to take them in, although I dare say that we might have hesitated if we had seen them beforehand. However, I was frazzled at the time by my whole goat herd disappearing, and five free chickens didn’t seem as if it could make things any worse.
We ended up with a tattered Buff Orpington, two Rhode Island Reds that have eye defects, a Turken, and a Silver Spangled Hamberg.
Mirin was at scout camp when we got the chickens, and we forgot to mention it when he got back. He screamed when he saw the turken for the first time, thinking it was Little Red Hen who had been mauled by the other birds. I tried to explain it was actually supposed to look like a mangy vulture with red feathers, and he almost didn’t believe me. It’s hard not to look at it and not wonder at how incredibly ugly it is.
The Silver Spangled Hamberg was by far the prettiest chicken, with pretty black and white markings and a fancy tail. Rose named her Pigeon Pea, and except for the first night when we transferred them into the coop with the other chickens, we hardly saw her at all.
She looks lovely, but she is very high strung and neurotic, and prefers to sleep in the trees. We have yet to find a single egg from her.
The one and only time any of us has gotten close to her was just before hurricane Irma, when Ethan grabbed her out of the tree and stuck her in the tied-down chicken coop with the other hens. Pigeon Pea sounded like she was being murdered, and now she roosts twice as high in the branches to avoid any further contact with us.
We’ve been seeing more of her lately now that the other chickens have been locked away from the just-started garden because they were ravaging it. Without the pressure of the other hens, who Pigeon Pea seems to maintain a scorn for, she began wandering in the orchard with the little turkeys.
She seems to feel quite at home with them, and even let me get close enough for a photograph of I set it to zoom in as far as I could.
This is an unprecedented measure of friendliness from her, so perhaps we will find an egg from her one of these days after all.