I currently have a small flock of four beautiful Buff Orpington hens. Three are from my original flock straight off my retirement “bucket list.” These girls will be six in the spring. I attempted to add three more hens to my flock a couple of years ago, but sadly it did not work out so well. One turned out to be a rooster, which I re homed. One died last summer of a mysterious ailment, and one (Buttercup) is still with us. My girls are liberated and self-sufficient ladies. They have no need or use for a rooster. The feathered ladies all have quite different, endearing personalities. Would you like to meet them? Let me introduce them to you!
Miss Henrietta is the leader of the flock. She watches out for the others and will not be crossed. Miss Henrietta is the cause of this blog title “Under A Hen’s Wing.” She took a flock member, Roo, under her wing when Roo was being pecked because her comb was smaller than the others. I went out to the coop one evening to find Roo cuddled up under Henrietta’s protective wing. She helped Roo integrate into the flock, and they became best friends. Roo was a late bloomer. Her comb grew into one of the most beautiful I have seen. Since that time Henrietta will not allow bullying in her flock. Although Henrietta is an older hen, she is still robust and loves to strut her stuff. She loves red fruit, especially strawberries, warm from the garden. She is also very smart.
Buffy Orpington is next in the pecking order. She is a large hen and in her old age is showing a bit of arthritis. She is maybe a few feathers short of a full coat — she worries a lot, making little vocalizations and is afraid of almost everything! When I attempted to put curtains over the nest boxes it scared her so much that she flew into the wall and cracked her beak. It healed and she is ok now. She is a happy follower and accompanies her buddy Yellow Feet on many adventures.
Yellow Feet was originally named Amelia Chickenheart (after Amelia Earhart) but somehow along the way her name was changed to Yellow Feet. She is a petite little hen and perhaps has a bit of bantam in her. She lives up to her original name because she is has an adventurous spirit. She is an escape artist and loves nothing better than to find a hole in the fence through which to push and explore the greener grass, happily scratching away with Buffy O., her partner in crime. Yellow Feet does not like to be handled, but she will tolerate a human presence for a few sunflower seeds. Her vocalization is usually a low warning growl, but when she is happy she sings.
Buttercup is the youngest in age. She will be three in the spring. She is at the bottom of the pecking order. She is a beautiful bird and a good layer. She is a bit flighty in personality and does not like to be petted. Like Yellow Feet, she is fond of a few sunflower seeds.
I have lost two flock members, both of which loved sitting on my lap or curling their heads on my shoulders in a “chickie hug” while I petted them under the wings. Perhaps I spoiled them too much!
These girls live in a coop inside our garden with an attached run. Our visitors and neighbors have called it Fort Knox because of all the measures we have taken to protect our precious “gold” birds from predators. I sure hope my girls will always be safe. They give me so much joy every day! I hope to add four new Buffs to the flock in the spring. I will keep you updated.