Backyard Chickens

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The chickens in my backyard are two in number. I have named them Henrietta and Bessie because I can now tell one from the other and I couldn’t do that when there were six. One by one the others died, leaving just these two. By my best calculation they are at least five and maybe as much as seven years old.

I never planned on raising chickens but my industrious neighbor did. Andy was always scheming with Chuck on being prepared for the “bad times”. Andy planted a garden and built a chicken coop and then came home with six buff orpingtons – beautiful golden birds! But he and Celina worked most of the time and since I work at home I offered to feed and water them every day. I enjoyed that – except for scooping out the poop. And I enjoyed gathering the eggs each day. Turns out the neighbors didn’t even eat eggs. And then they sold their house and moved away but spent one Saturday moving the coop to my backyard. I was delighted!

After all these years of tending to the girls, about a month ago one of them finally deigned to let me pet her. Bessie would hunch down and stop moving and allow me to stroke her on the back. Then about three weeks ago Bessie didn’t come down out of her nesting box. I just knew I was probably down to one chicken, but no – she was alive and well – just didn’t want to come out. And three weeks later, she still isn’t coming out! Chuck spied her walking around in the pen yesterday afternoon but thirty minutes later she was back in her nest. When I go out and look in on her she makes the biggest squawk you have ever heard! I am definitely not wanted anymore. “Don’t bother me”, says Bessie. “S-Q-U-A-W-K!”

So now I’m working on Henrietta. So far, no petting but at least she has quit running from me when I get near. We just might become friends after all.

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