We have a Lap-Chicken

Today is the one week anniversary of the arrival of Isabel, Rosie and Bronwyn. It’s been a fun week watching them settle in and find their wings (which have been clipped so they flutter but don’t fly). And they really have settled in well.

The good news is they are eating leaves. It seems they figured out how to consume greens even with trimmed (aka debeaked) beaks. That’s a huge relief to me and unbounded joy for the hens. It’s not such good news for the ruby ginger that grows along the fence in their enclosure. They love it, or at least love shredding it.

The great news is they seem to like us. Who knew chickens became lap dogs? Or maybe Rosie was a chihuahua in a past life? Frank pulled up a chair and within 1 minute Rosie hopped on up. This was 6 days after we brought her home. 

I’m not saying our chickens adore us, but I think “like” is a safe description of their feelings.  The photo below was taken 4 days after we brought the hens home. I put my chair in their enclosure and just sat and read for a few minutes and Bronwyn snuggled up next to my foot.

We’re now at a point that whenever Frank or I walk down to the chicken coop, the girls run towards the gate in anticipation. I confess I always try to offer them a treat of some sort to keep their interest and buy their affection (I have absolutely no problem with stooping to bribery). Forget about trying to pet them though. I have managed to touch each of them but it’s not easy and they never really tolerate it. They scoot away and go munch grass elsewhere to punish me for my affront.

They are also getting comfortable with their environment. Below is a photo of Isabel and Bronwyn sunning themselves. Or I think that’s what they are doing. They found a patch of sun (they get dappled sun all day but not much full sun) and rolled their bellies towards the heavens. Very weird looking posture, but they seemed happy.

The only real issue I have with the way they’ve settled in is that they’ve given up roosting on their nice perches. Instead, all 3 of them cram into one nest box to sleep. I have newspaper under their roost which makes it easy to clean up their nightly mess and compost it. In their nest box I have sugar-cane mulch and it’s messier to clean. Plus, when they do start laying, I don’t want soiled eggs. The 2nd nest box is being left almost untainted so maybe they have a plan!


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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8 Responses to We have a Lap-Chicken

  1. Oh they look so happy! so glad they have settled in so well. My neighbor used to have chooks and when one of them would fly over for a visit I would pick it up to hand it back over. One of them was very cuddly, and sooo soft 🙂 – I always took my time handing that one back.

  2. I was amazed at how soft they are but I only really got to feel their deep down when I moved them from their box to their coop. Once they are brave enough to let me stroke them, I’ll get a better sense of their cuddliness.

  3. Seasonsgirl says:

    We have 10 hens and they do the same thing your girls do. We raised them from 5 day old chicks so when they see us now they run and surround us. They are good at tolerating petting (some better then others) so keep trying with yours I am sure they will get use to it. We even have them use to kids petting them now (I blogged about this the other day) as I was surprised they didn’t peck at her or anything and stayed still for the petting. I am a fist time visitor to your blog and am enjoying it.

  4. Glenn Rittenhouse says:

    I never heard of chooks as pets. I understand pigs make good pets but I would stick with a dog if I ever had a pet again.

    • Yes, dogs give unconditional love – but their egg production leaves a lot to be desired.

      As for chickens as pets, believe it or not, you can buy a leash and diapers for your hens in Sydney. It’s a new trend – watch out, you might catch the bug yourself!

  5. Pingback: Seek and ye shall find | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

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