Buffy is the Bully of our 13 hens. We call her Buffy because she has a buff tail. We inherited Buffy and Red from a person who didn’t want to keep Buffy and Red through the winter. Therefore, Buffy and Red are “adopted” hens. Buffy and Red stick together. The other 11 hens may be off in the garden somewhere, while Buffy and Red are beside each other in the mulch. Buffy may be a bully because she she “thinks” she is protecting Red. I dunno. I don’t pretend to understand chickenology, although I’m learning. I’ve seen Buffy run half way across the barnyard to pounce on one of the pullets for some unknown offense. Why the pullets put up with this abuse is beyond me. It might be because Buffy and Red are a year older than the pullets.
Buffy and Red lay pretty speckled eggs, while the pullets all lay nice brown eggs. The variety of eggs is quite attractive in an egg carton when we give them away.
The 11 pullets don’t have names because we can’t tell them apart. They are all a nice combo of brown and white, mostly brown.
Buffy may be getting her “paybacks” for all the bullying she’s done. She is the only hen that is molting. She looks quite ragged and has lost the “buff” out of her tail. She is no longer the bully with the loss of her feathers, and hangs back on the fringes of the flock, trying not to be noticed. Ginnie feels sorry for Buffy and asks about her almost daily. I tell Ginnie that Buffy is getting her just due (poultry justice, if you will), but Ginnie still wrings her hands and asks about her.
I usually gather the eggs and do the chicken chores around 10:00 in the morning. I have found that by this time, the hens have usually laid their eggs, and I can let them out for the day to roam the farm.
One morning it was rainy and dark. I went out at 10:00 as usual. On approaching the hen house, I typically call out to them and they start clucking in anticipation of the bread crumbs I give them. I heard no clucking on this rainy morning. I threw open the hen-house door and, I’ll be danged, the hens were still in bed! I couldn’t believe it. 10:00 in the morning! Guess they like to sleep in on rainy mornings just like humans. Well, then there was the big “fly down” from their roosts, like wild turkeys in the woods. They gobbled up their bread crumbs. There were only a couple of eggs in the nests that morning and I had to go back out around noon to gather the majority. Sleepy heads!
The hens like to hide their eggs. I have nice laying boxes for them, and they may use the laying boxes or they may not. Sometimes I find little clutches of eggs scattered about in various nooks and crannies. This winter the hens’ egg production dropped off drastically. Of the 13 hens, we had been getting a dozen eggs daily like clockwork. Suddenly, there were only a couple of eggs. I had been anticipating a drop in egg production as hens often go into a molt in the winter, lose their feathers and stop laying. I begrudgingly accepted the fewer eggs. Then I noticed a huge nest of eggs cleverly hidden under a ramp. Those boogers had been hiding their eggs! I’m pleased to say there has been no drop in egg production all winter.
We give away a lot of eggs. There’s no way Ginnie and I can eat a dozen eggs a day, although we love farm fresh eggs. It’s fun giving away eggs, and people line up for them. It’s such a happy gift! At my creative writing class on Saturdays, I give away a dozen eggs as a door prize for the best story, as voted on by the students. The competition is stiff for those dozen eggs!
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Facebook. Curt’s stories are also read at 106.3 FM in Farmington.