Wednesday, June 02, 2021 (June’s fullest moon [the “Strawberry”] rises in 22 days, on the 24th.)
The average life of a domestic chicken is three to twelve years. I know this by losing nearly a dozen hens over the years. My surviving hen, Welsummer, has turned eleven and winning the odds. She’s in good weight, is well-feathered, frisky, and has good appetite. Several weeks ago, she produced an egg, its shell thin, its insides delicious.
Until Welsummer’s last birthday, I felt relieved that soon no more worries about chicken health and care. With that thought came a sense of impending loss: No more chickens? No more sweeties like Welsummer?
That’s when I decided to plan for replacements, a couple of Welsummer babies.
The thing is, there’s a rule of, “no three of anything”. Because two usually team up and pick on a third. I’ve realized this with horses. It’s best that living beings are in twos, or fours, or eights–essentially, no “threes”.
I listened to my heart and went shopping for chicks. My new flock of seven hens, all different breeds (including a Welsummer), now is about a month old. The chicks are twice in size, and feathering-out, nearly able to leap high as the walls of their home. Upon seeing me their reactions are mixed and becoming more trusting as they age.
I show up lots, talk to them, and hold one-at-a-time, stroking and reassuring. The birds at first resist, but each being held settles immediately, they’re sweet handfuls. I hope they keep this early trust and become affectionate pets.
There’s a flash while getting a selfie. The sudden light makes a little bird jumpy to hold.
Out of the gate, this Rhode Island Red has been easy and accommodating, a sweetie. So, too, has the Black Copper, this flock’s biggest and maybe its lead. She responds willingly when I reach. (BTW, a fully grown Copper is big, about ten pounds, twice an average hen’s weight.)
Chicken breed history is interesting, how a style evolved, its appearance, temperament, potential. Someday I’ll share about my hens some history, and characteristics I’ll look for ( aside from “sweetness”) as they grow.
On a day that’s suddenly-very-hot, and near Welsummer and the goats, my equines chow-down. If today’s not too hot, we might haul to the forest and trod its refreshing old trails.
Dear Friends: Our summers arriving abruptly open worlds of sudden feelings and activities. Diana