It took serious restraint for me not to buy more chickens this spring. Every time I head to my local farm store, there are oodles of fluffy rare breed chicks for the taking. I would love to get a Brahma and a Buff Orpington. I have a thing for the Speckled Hamburg Hen.
But, we already have five chickens. They provide plenty of eggs. Our run is only so big. More chickens would mean free ranging or building a bigger run. Since we’re sick of chicken crap on the hardscape, and we’re too lazy to build a bigger run, I’ve held back on more birds. Until…
Thursday, I got a call from Ben.
“Hey, do we want a free Jersey Giant?” he casually asked.
“Huh? Is this Buster’s chicken? Is it a hen?” Buster used to work with Ben. He started keeping chickens around the same time we did and got a bit over-zealous. More than me, even.
“Yeah, Andre’s sister.” Buster wanted to give us a hen that was from the same batch as our dear departed hen/rooster, Andre.
“Why does he want to get rid of her?”
“He says he has too many chickens.” He was up to eight chickens on a small city lot. Naturally, he wanted to give away the one that eats the most.
“Yeah, I guess, if she’s healthy.”
So, a chicken has now fallen into our laps, so to speak. Not that you’d want to hold the new chicken in your lap. For one thing, she’d crap on you. And for another, she’s huge. She makes our other chickens look like bantams.
The Jersey Giant breed is known as the “gentle giant.” So far, this has proven quite accurate. She gave me no trouble when I scooped her up and plopped her in a solitary cage in the coop. (New chickens must be introduced slowly and carefully, or they will fight.) She has put up no resistance against Henny Penny, who has mercilessly pounced on her at every opportunity.
My mother-in-law expressed curiosity at how Henny Penny would react to Andre’s sister. Henny Penny and Andre were raised from chicks together and were close companions. Deb seemed to think Henny Penny would feel a kinship — a connection — to the new girl. Ben said she must be thinking of dolphins; chickens don’t play like that.
The other chickens have left the new girl alone. Which means, if Henny Penny keeps this nonsense up, she’s the one who’ll end up in solitary for a few days.
I foresee another summer of chicken poop on the patio. And lots of omelets.