Nothing is more sad than a chicken without at least one best friend. One of the babies I saved by bringing indoors this summer, the last of the year's babies, has not a single friend in all of the flock. He or she must roost all alone at night. Everyone else has bonded with one or two other chickens, except for this youngster. I guess I will have to intervene and select one of the other chickens to be a friend with this little orphan. After the two of them have been penned together for a week or so, then they will become friends.
Each night I go out and stuff the lonely chicken into a cat carrier that has hay stuffed in it, so the baby can have shelter and protection. I guess the big chickens prevent the orphan from roosting with them. It is very sad, indeed. After all, they are all related.
My chicken flock has morphed into a rag tag of pirates and rouges. The late Mrs. Peckins' son, Junior is now the alpha rooster. He is beautiful with a green tail, magnificent comb and wattles, and is easily twice or three times the size of the other chickens. He takes his duties seriously, but he has never attacked me or even spread his wings and lowered his neck as a warning. I never have to fear turning my back on this rooster. He is too much like Mrs Peckins and not at all like his father, the Evil Roo'.
Cherokee has matured into a beautiful Japanese rooster, with snowy feathers, and a gracefully curving black tail. He acts like a dope and no one takes him seriously. Junior chases him off every single day and Cherokee runs for his life squawking like... well, like a big chicken.
Tenzing Norgay, the very first chick I selected for the farm, is still here. Nobody messes with her. She and Junior rule the chicken kingdom of Spirit Creek. Junior affords her his finest gentlemanly behavior and she leaves him to his king career. If anyone else does a single thing she does not like, she goes after them growling and angry, and everyone clears out. If Cherokee thinks he is going to do his stupid rooster dance for Tenzing, she lines him out in no uncertain terms. Of all the chickens, she is easily the most expressive, determined and certainly the most convincing. If Mama ain't happy, ain't no body happy!
Then there Tenzing's two half grown babies. They inherited a high status in the flock from their mother, and continue to eat by her side, getting the best of the food. There is Black Girl, a Weird Sister/Junior chick, and White Girl, the only pure D'Uccle baby and the last one. White Girl might be White Boy... hard to tell yet.
That leaves the two Weird Sisters. They have never truly integrated into the flock. Not only are they physically different, they are from Back East. They know they do not belong out here in red neck country. They are flighty and nervous and fly into the red bud trees. Though the other chickens could fly into the low branches as well, they never do.
I believe now my chickens were killed by owls in the early mornings this summer. It was the crack of dawn and I had just seen Cherokee scratching beneath the tree before any of the other chickens were up. I saw something large angling through the front porch, past the windows. I rushed to the door, certain Cherokee was a goner. He did not even seem to be alarmed. That is why I believe it was an owl. Their feathers are silent, so Cherokee did not even realize he had almost been served for breakfast. He was contentedly scratching at the remains of the previous evening's meal. Lovable but dumb, his name should be Forest Gump, oblivious to the cruel realities of the world.