Athena is back at home. She was loaned out this summer to raise some babies.
Athena and her sister were hatched last year and raised by a Silkie hen (they were the White Chocolates). They turned out to be not quite leghorns- white, quite differently shaped from leghorns, but a little jumpy and high-strung like leghorns are. Early this summer, both of them went broody, but not at the same time. Athena’s sister (Aphrodite?) raised a mixed set of five. She abandoned them early, leaving the nursery coop to go sleep in the main coop a little before they were ready for her to do that, but they had each other, and were fine.
I had a friend ask for chicks, and the only way I could see to do that was to deliver them in the egg, with a chicken attached. Athena was the only one setting at the time, so she was the only option.
This poor family got their first broody hen and hatch experience with the worst-tempered, most bloody minded broody hen I have ever had. She terrorized them all, glaring balefully in a good mood, attacking viciously if anyone had the nerve to feed her. They wore leather gloves to interact with her, and that was appropriate. They named her Athena (I think they meant Artemis). She was horrible!
She spent her entire time, even after the chicks were all hatched, puffed out in aggression. On one hand, this meant she’d be a good mother, fiercely protective, but it wasn’t exactly a cozy and sweet introduction to chickens.
She raised seven chicks, and when they were done with her (and the people were really done with Athena), I picked her up in the night. I was driving by after chicken bedtime, so I just grabbed her out of the coop and set her on my lap, and she rode home like a pet. I popped her into the main coop where she’d always slept in before.The next night, I found her nervously prancing around the retiree’s coop, which I had already closed. Do you want to go sleep in that coop?! I opened it, she ran right up the ramp. Ok then. The chicken knows what she wants.
I noticed her all over after her return. For one thing, she was as slim and sleek as anything, every feather in place. She had one grease mark from being under one of their cars before leaving, but it didn’t take long to be able to tell her apart from her sister.
She runs everywhere she goes. There is no stroll, lope, or walk. Dart here, dart there. She’s the last to bed, but unlike the “normal” hens who mosey to bed, already half in a dream trance, Athena would suddenly look up from active pecking in the feed tray, turn and run up the ramp to bed. She’s a heavy walker. She’s small, but I can hear her running me down on the trail. Thumpthumpthumpthumpthump!
She’s working on being a troublemaker, too. She’s started taking a copycat interest in the house, she’s figured out how I open the GH door for the guineas and gets in there for a quick scratch before bed, and when I discovered a chicken had been up in my window box scratching it up, I thought it could only be Nosey. Because.
Then I caught Athena in the act last night. I don’t even know how she jumps up there.