And wonders if perhaps it would be more cozy with a fire… Actually she sees her reflection.
Nosey took to letting herself into the house this fall whenever the door was left open. She wouldn’t stay very long, just do a lap, walking casually all around, checking for crumbs, and then pop back out the door and leave. Just had to know what was going on.
Nosey the Nosy thinks that I have a chicken-shaped void in my life, and she’s the chicken to fill it. I see that you don’t have a house chicken at the moment. I’d like to leave my resumé.
It’s true, it’s been a long time since Cheeks moved out. Nosey has an unusual degree of interest in the house. With the door always open and the screen on, she spends a lot of time standing on the threshold looking in.And riffling the screen with her beak.I know this opens somehow!
She work from one side to the other, worrying it. She hasn’t figured it out yet though.
Until the day a screen magnet snapped to the door, holding the screen open.
She strolled around the mud room for some time, inspecting, looking around. The “up” things were really interesting. As were the knots in the wood.
I let her be.
I was walking back and forth to the door, and she’d look at me and walk towards the door (I was just leaving!), then watch me, and seeing I wasn’t actually shooing her out, turn around and resume inspection (Well in that case I don’t mind if I stay). Who says chickens aren’t smart.
Inspecting the boot tray.
She stayed in the mud room, just peeking into the house.
Cheeks progressed to spending all day outside. She started eating from the trough with the other hens, then started laying her eggs in the nest box of the coop!
I hardly saw her from the morning post-yelling eviction until the evening.
She would still come to the door of the house at bedtime, or if it rained heavily. Hello. I still live here. And I’d put her back in her banana box for the night.I can’t reach the handle.Ah! There you are.Do open this confounded door for me, would you? I thank you.
I don’t know why chickens often get English “I say, old sport” accents in my head.
So funny! Coming to the door like a cat in the evening:)
Her brief supervised outings and chaperoned dates quickly turned into twice a day solo forays that got longer and longer. At first she would come in wiped out, eat (or skip eating), drop into her banana box and sleep for hours. You could see her building strength though, and she could stay out longer and longer before wanting to come in.
She was more of a solo chicken at first, as the other chickens still lived in the greenhouse and gravitated towards their food dishes over there, while she stayed very near the house. Jumping up on the sawhorse was kind of impressive for one good leg.
Then Cheeks started to make the walk over to the greenhouse! She chose a rooster (Chris is the lucky guy).
And then…she started to stay outside mostly all morning, and all afternoon. Back in to drop an egg, or eat, and then, she would announce she was ready to go back outside by yelling. In the morning as soon as she saw the other chickens through the window, cue earsplitting yellllling! with a prelude of whining.
That would earn her a prompt toss out the door for the morning (at 42 sec).
When she was in, she made it plain room temperature was too hot for her now too, by doing airplane impressions. She’d acclimated to the cooler outdoors.I’m hot. Should I start yelling or am I making myself clear?
All in all, she progressively spent less and less time as a coddled house chicken, and started her transition back to normal chicken. I’m so proud!
Cheeks has been having chaperoned outings. I carry her out with me and set her down near where I’m working, in the field or the garden, and she moseys around, scratching and eating.
She loves it. What I expected, was that after a couple of hours, she’d be tired, and willing and ready to be scooped up and carried home for a drink. I’ve handled her daily for months. She’s as tame as a chicken could possibly be.No. Oh, no no no. No! Not yet! Try to grab her and she hits the gas. Can’t catch me! I’m a wild animal! She can lead me on a proper merry chase, even with her lame foot. When you do catch her though, she’s totally fine with being picked up. The thrill is in the chase.I only look placid.
Today she got a supervised date. (A very brief date). Speed date, even. The rooster saw her from a distance, and barreled towards her, and saved his dancing for the afterglow.
She’s been looking forward to a date, based on how loud she shouts through the window when the roosters come to the yard. And she didn’t make him chase. Now all her gorgeous eggs won’t go to waste, and I’ll get some little Cheekslings.She also got some time with Perchick, which was adorable. They spent nearly an hour together. Perchick and Cheeks are the same age, possibly nestmates,and they behaved exactly like they recognized each other and fell in step like old times.
Cheeks has been doing very well. She still lives in the house, as she has for months, continuing to be low maintenance (except for a predilection for beak-sweeping her food); and self regulating, staying in her banana box or on her Rubbermaid (her proscribed territory) and moving between the two on her own.
She has been doing better than ever, although the swelling on the top of her foot continues to grow. It’s a bubble that looks about to drain every day. For weeks.
I soak her afflicted foot every day, and sometimes get a little drainage, but in spite of this impediment (literally), she’s in good spirits, relatively active, interested, and talkative.
Exceedingly talkative. The last few days, she’s become a talking machine, standing up on her box, going on and on. BrrBRbrbrBRbrBRR, sometimes in a complaining tone, but mostly just a gossipy/lecturing tone. We’re like, What has gotten into you? You’ve got things to say!
What have you got in there?
OMG, is that an egg?! You laid an egg!
You’d have thought she’d levitated, I was so excited about this egg.
It’s a perfect, pale blue egg. Unfortunately not fertile, because she hasn’t been on a date for a long time. I’d love to hatch some of her offspring.
But what it really means is that she’s healthy! She’s healthy and comfortable enough to resume egg laying, in spite of her foot she can barely use.
Healthy enough that she felt like contributing to the household:)
*She laid another the next day, and the talking decreases dramatically
Cheeks is doing much better than when this photo was taken a few days ago, and that aloe in the background is doing much worse.
She’s done quite a bit of standing on both feet today, which is an improvement.
She really likes to roost on the edge of the box when she’s done eating. She spends a lot of the day there, watching us come and go. She doesn’t miss anything, and I can tell when she wants to go in her banana box for a nap.
It’s neat how much like a cat the house chicken is these days. Quiet, unobtrusive, just there. Only difference is that she doesn’t come and climb into your lap when you sit down. Once placed there though, she’s happy to stay for hours.
Today I put some oatmeal in her dish, but it was hot, so I went upstairs. She was in her box, and I was going to lift her out to her Rubbermaid in a minute when I came back down. This is post-breakfast, mind you, but there was a sound – “Did she just jump out of her box?” Yes, yes she did. She’d seen me do something with her dish and couldn’t wait to find out what it was.
From outside the window.
She’s been demolishing that aloe. Three arms are missing now, and she’s started on a fourth, plus the other plant. It’s good for her, I’m sure, it’s just wild that she’s consuming so much of it!
She took a whole arm off of this plant (right), and a couple of beak shaped bites out of another arm.
Then she took the tip off another plant. She really ate quite a lot of it, despite the bits she left behind. Apparently, today she just wanted some aloe. It’s good for her. No one else is eating it (I’ve tried, I find it bitter).
This is the box she stands on, to eat, and just to hang out for a lot of the day. Easy to clean:) The aloe just seemed like part of the buffet.
All very peaceful, until a croissant comes out. First it was pie crust, similarly discovered by accident – I was eating it within her reach, and she stabbed out her beak- I’ll have some of that!
Multigrain croissant has proven to be such a huge and lasting hit, that I’m like Ok, eat some more of your grains, and then you can have croissant. She’s like I’ll wait. I can carry a box of them through the room, and her little head periscopes out of her banana box, following me.
She gets a wicked glint in her eye when the croissant comes out, and she attacks! I used to break up beak sized pieces for her, but she prefers to rip her own bits off of the source, getting her whole body involved.
Why does she like it so much?
We don’t know, but at least she’s got an appetite.