August 10, 2014 – The Silkie and Polish chicks are now pullets, and as such, have been attending lessons in Pullet Camp on how to be safe, confident and successful hens. Today, I decided to take all eight of them on a nature walk. Waffles and Hattie offered to come along as chaperones. Having not ventured any significant distance from their new coop, today’s expedition was a lesson in patience. While the young hens have poked around in the dirt and grass surrounding their condominium, they had yet to feel the freedom of a full range. I sat them down on a nearby log to review safety protocols and predator danger. I finished my spiel and was about to match each pullet up with a line buddy when Waffles thought it would be a good idea to expand on my message.
“Look to the sky, so you won’t die,” she advised.
I might have used a euphemism, but she certainly garnered their attention.
“Stay together or risk getting eaten,” Waffles continued, “and whatever you do… DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, SPEAK TO A FELINE!”
Layla, our littlest hen started to cry, so I stepped in.
“I think what Waffles is trying to say,” I started softly, “is that we love you all and don’t want anything bad to happen because someone isn’t paying attention to the safety rules. Today, you will buddy up and walk in the middle of the three of us. We will protect you. Nothing bad is going to happen, so don’t worry. Relax, and have a great time.”
We got the line together and started for the side yard. I kept a close watch on the Polish pullets, since their head feathers block out a good portion of their vision. At one point, Madea thought the garden hose was a snake and began to shake it for all it’s worth, and Mavis talked for 5 minutes to a water bucket. I’m going to recommend to Mom that these two go in for a haircut.
We were scratching and pecking under the smelly bush when Henrietta, the buff Silkie, let out a vibrant, “WHOOP, WHOOP, WHOOP!”
“Is everything alright?” I inquired of the fair-feathered fowl.
“It sure is,” she replied enthusiastically. “I just met Wilma. Oh, sorry – Her Majesty, Queen Wilma, Royal Sovereign of the Chicken Yard. She told me to toot whenever I found a bug so you would know that I’m doing well!”
Good one, Wilma, I said chuckling to myself.
“I’m thrilled that you’re hunting like a pro, Henrietta, but I give you permission to “whoop” in silence. After all, you don’t want to give the bugs advanced notice that you’re on the prowl.”
I looked over in our run and saw Wilma chortling. I pretended to bow before her noble grace and she in turn, mooned me. Yep… pure class. She doesn’t know it yet, but I signed Wilma up to teach the next lesson: Occupational Hazards of Sleeping on the Bottom Roost – How to clean manure from your back feathers. I can’t wait to sit in on that session!