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Date:12/18/2014 11:31:35 AM
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Stories of our Chickens: Brigid finds her Home
You don't always know, when you meet an animal, that it is going to be the one to steal your heart. That's how it was with our little banty Rhode Island Red, Brigid. We picked her up from another 4-H family after the county fair. She hadn't done too well and was destined for the soup pot. We were just looking for some laying hens, and didn't care whether she had done well in the show. I was particularly impressed with her gentle disposition. We literally took her from the arms of the little girl who had raised her, and brought her home to live with our 4 Pearl-White Leghorns. We slipped her onto the perch in the dark of night, just as we were told to do, and hoped for the best. We were certain our new little friend would blend into the existing flock and soon become a happy little egg layer.
We couldn't have been more wrong.
In the first place, little sweet hen *NEVER* produced an egg. Not one. In spite of assurances that she was a good and productive layer, the eggs just never came. We never did find out why.
Not only did she not make eggs, Brigid also hated sex. The roosters were about 3 times her size, and they literally squashed her into the ground. My husband was out in the yard with her one day, and one of the boys came around the corner of the house. Brigid ran to my husband as fast as she could and leaped/flapped into his arms. "SAVE ME!" she seemed to be saying.
For a while, we had this huger Rhode Island Red roo named Seamus. He was huge. Normally after the roosters jump on the hens and mate them, the girls just stand up, shake out their feathers, and go back to whatever they were doing, Once Seamus jumped on poor miniature Brigid, dug his big claws into her, and did his thing. Poor Brigid was so traumatized, she crawled into a corner and sat there with her face hidden until I picked her up and cuddled her. And rather than make her stay out in the shed with the mean ol' bad ol' rooster, I brought her in the house to watch TV with me.
That set a dangerous precedent. Brigid never got along with the hens all that well, and really hated the roos, so she started running away from home at night. We spent a few anxious evenings in the yard with flashlights, searching under the porch and in the neighbors trees, trying to bring our sweet little hen home. But for all our fuss and worry, she always brought herself home in the morning. One she was gone for 2 days, and we thought for sure she was a goner. Imagine our surprise when we found her sitting on the perch in the shed in the middle of the afternoon!
About that time, it started getting really cold at night. My husband (who claims he hates chickens) started bringing her inside in the middle of the afternoon, before she had a chance to run away.
Like a stray cat who works his way from the porch to the laundry room to your sofa, Brigid worked her way into our house and our hearts. We started bringing her in at night
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