Sometimes when I’m walking down the path, I hear a little whisk whisk behind me, and I look back to find two or three hens eagerly running along behind me. They stop immediately when I stop and mill around, at a loss. Uh, we were just, uhhhh, nothing.
I start walking again and they run some more, curiously following. Chickens running is about the funniest thing ever. There’s the loping jog, where the side to side bobbing is very pronounced (doing doing doing), and then the running, more springy up and down but less side-to-side (boingboingboing), and then there’s the top speed, which usually means they throw their wings out for stability or to maybe be ready to take off at any moment, and so look like children running in superhero capes. I spend a lot of time with a chicken shadow, and H.W. occasionally gets tailed. So funny! They’re convinced something good will fall to the ground around me if they only stick to me.
Only the low hen will come all the way to the camper by herself; others have followed HW here, but usually I tell my little followers to turn around, back it up! and then as soon as they lose sight of me on the curving path, they return to the others. We do not want the whole flock hovering around the camper waiting for the door to open. H.W. was already scandalized at our resident low hen today. He set his slice of pie down on the bench to pull his shoes on, and she darted up, grabbed the pie, and ran into the woods with it. She knew exactly what was at stake; earlier she was eating pie crust crumbs out of my hand. I want to pet her, but we are not at that stage in our relationship yet.
The naked chicken seems to be quite high in the order now, and her feathers are starting to poke out of her skin again, although she still looks ghastly half-naked. H.W. makes jokes in bad taste about her looking appetizingly half-cooked.