I haven't written about chickens in a while, so the vicarious poultry keepers will get their time today.
We lost one chicken over the fall, Lucy, named after C.S. Lewis' character from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. She didn't sit on her perch for a few weeks, then one morning fell down the coop steps. She died that afternoon. She had always been the chicken apart. The other three would scurry about in a little cluster and she would either be 20 feet behind or off somewhere else completely. She was lowest in pecking order and Ursula made sure that she remembered that, body checking her away from the best snacks.
Athena is out pet chicken, she barely lays. If this were a real farm she would have been soup long ago.
She is currently the lowest in the pecking order, and during the prime summer laying season she would lay a couple of times a week, maybe. She has the most attitude though. She makes it very clear that this snow was not requested and that she commands that we send it and the low temperatures back to Canada where they belong. She resists being put into the chicken run every morning, wanting to stroll about, tempting fate and the neighbors' over-sized dogs. Rules are for the other chickens.
The other two Paisley and Ursula, lay their share and a bit more. Paisley is a homebody, who can usually be found within a few yards of the food dish, even if the gate is open. Ursula has found every escape route available out of the run and will casually scratch about the yard in the afternoon. She seems perfectly happy to hang out in the run in the morning, but late afternoons are for freedom.
This spring we are considering getting a few new chicks, since we are down one and one of the remaining girls doesn't pull her weight in egg production. They are also really cute for two whole weeks. My daughter has already named two, one will be Bob, not Bobbi Jean, or Bobbi Jo, or Bobbette, just a hen named Bob. Bob is to be a Cochin, a basketball shaped chicken with feathered feet. She thinks it's funny, and well, it is.
The second will be Freya, after a a Norse love goddess whose carriage is pulled by two cats, a fitting name for our egg laying hen. The question is: Will having Freya and Athena together cause a goddess power struggle? My daughter believes that Freya should be a Wyandotte, but I'm not sold on it.
The third (you have to get several chicks at a time, they huddle to stay warm, if they can't huddle then they would probably die.) is unnamed. I'm thinking she should be a ginormous Brahma and we should give her a Hindi name. My daughter doesn't want a Brahma, but won't say why.
Any ideas for chicken breeds or funky names (we don't do ordinary)?
About all of this my husband just shakes his head and says, "You really want to do this????" Thinking of all of the tears from the fire, and the lost girls now buried under the quince bush and behind the shed and all of the work and hassle involved in keeping the little chicks alive.
I guess it's like what they say about childbirth, that you just forget the pain and do it all over again.