Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hens and Housekeeping

Mother Hen. Every flock has one (animal or human) -- ours happens to be Helen, a Rhode Island Red; who also happens to be a homebody and an extraordinary housekeeper. She was named in memory of my mother - but not for any of those reasons. As a chick Helen was the bossiest - and it just seemed right that she should bear my mother's "given name."

Helen out grew her bossiness when she was no longer the largest of our girls (there's that pecking order!); and became quite the henhouse keeper. While the other girls are out enjoying a romp in the yard, Helen stays nearby the coop - running in and out of the pen and coop making certain everything remains in order.

She's nearly obsessed with what goes on in that coop. The other girls can just forget about any privacy while laying an egg. She's right there with you sister! Checking your progress and happily chiming in with you as you announce your success.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the coop's egg door to find two hens jammed in the 10 inch by 10 inch nest box. Buttercup neatly tucked in on the inside, and Helen, squeezed in, on the outside. A few minutes later I retrieved two fresh eggs. Now that's teamwork!

Helen likes things tidy and I often find a single egg in the middle of the coop floor. I suspect that she has rolled this egg out of the nest and away from the others for a reason that only makes sense to a bird brain. Lately it's been the egg of one of the Barred Rocks. Perhaps this is her way of getting back at the pecking order.

I guess we all have our idiosyncrasies, but she's a good reliable layer and an excellent housekeeper. My Mom would approve.


  1. I am with Helen, tidiness is highly important. I am from Council, ID and just ordered my very first chickens yesterday. I can't wait to be a chicken keeper. I will read all your posts for more info.

  2. I don't have chickens, but I enjoyed your post! Thanks!


Thanks for reading and sharing your comments! Candace

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