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Getting to Know the Hens

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Each morning three new farmers comes to the garden. All meet and observe Goldie, Sunshine, Blackie, Peanut and Brownie. Along the way they have lots of questions and thoughts.

Farmer 1: Peanut is the smallest chicken and she left the playpen to lay an egg in the coop. We waited a few minutes then opened the door. Barbara told us to be quiet and thoughtful of Peanut’s privacy. Goldie ran up the ramp and stayed to protect Peanut. Goldie and the other hens will trust us more once they get to know us.

 I can’t wait to see the egg.

Farmer 2: Brownie, Goldie and Blackie came to Ms. Siskin’s class when they were tiny chicks. Her kids raised them until they were big enough to live alone in a small coop. They are four years old now.

Farmer 3: Brownie is different from all the other hens because she doesn’t have a comb on her head. There is just a little colored bump.

Barbara: Today’s farmers were filled with questions. Here are a few.

Question:  How many hens do we have?
Answer: Five.

Question: Do they all lay eggs? 
Answer: No. Brownie and Blackie stopped laying eggs two years ago. Goldie, Peanut and Sunshine produces about five eggs each per week. That’s 15 total. Goldie’s eggs are brown and bigger than Sunshine and Peanut’s pinkish-white ones.

Question: Why do the chickens peck? 
Answer: Mainly they peck to clean things off of your shoes and pants. The hens also show their dislike of very loud voices, screaming and rough-treatment by pecking. Sunshine is the warrior chicken–head hen (although, Blackie would have something to say about that) and will peck anyone she perceives hurting any of her girls.

Question: Does the egg come from their poop hole?  
Answer: No.

Question: How long does it take to lay an egg?
Answer: That depends. Most days, Goldie, Sunshine or Peanut disappears in to the coop for 15-20 minutes. If bothered during their process, they stop and then resume later when it’s quiet.

Question: Why do they sometimes run to their coop when we are here?
Answer: It is their safe place where kids are not allowed. Just like people, the hens get stressed, scared or bored and want to be quiet.