I’m going to make a big assumption here that most of you who have or have ever had chickens (which I imagine isn’t really most of you) have “been there, done that” with this one. Come on, admit it… you’ve done this too.
You’ve had an old hen that gets picked on. And I’m going to guess here that most of you have done all you could to “save” her, to keep her from the so-called natural pecking order, and protect her from getting picked on.
Yup, I’ve done it before too. And we have one of those hens right now. We call her Grill Chicken, because she’s taken up residence right next to the gas grill on our porch.
This is the same hen who was the sole survivor from the Pine Martin Massacre of the early spring of 08. In her healing from the wounds inflicted in the battle (not to mentioned what I’d figure would be some nasty psychological scars after being buried alive under all the other dead hens in the hen house on that fated morning), we had nursed her back to health right here in the kitchen, allowing her to stay in the dove cage behind the kitchen table for a few weeks before letter her spend the rest of the spring on our porch.
When the new chicks were old enough to move out to the hen house, she returned fully recovered (I’m hoping) to the coop, and made friends with the new batch of chickens.
But she’s old now, and been through plenty. We figure she is now 3 or 4, but for a chicken, at least for us, that’s pretty aged. The rooster must have thought so as well, and had taken to picking on the poor old hen. So, in due respect of the sweet old hen, we’re keeping the rooster and the rest of his girls in the fenced chicken yard, and letting Grill Chicken live on back on the porch. For now.
During the day, she hangs out on the deck with Alan, the shepherd, and visits us while we have lunch in the warm spring sun. The first few nights, Forrest lifted her up and onto an overhead branch of a spruce tree outside the house, figuring she’d be safe there. She was, but she couldn’t get down or up from that branch on her own. So, she found herself a cozy place outside out east doorway under the covered porch.
Sleeping next to the grill was her idea.
Though I don’t think we’ll be using that grill for a while.