Our youngest granddaughter visited with the hens for the first time this weekend. At 20 months, she’d had no previous experience with chickens and showed no fear. She fed them, walked among them, examined the feeder and waterer, collected the eggs from the egg boxes (only breaking one), and in general, seemed to accept the hens as just another curiosity in a world of curiosities.
Most of our little granddaughters have met the hens at some time in their lives. None have feared them, but some are more comfortable with them than others. The hens have their own unique reactions to these miniature humans. As we know, children move more quickly than adults. The hens are on their toes when children are near, ready to leap out of reach of the toddlers at any unexpected movement.
The hens circle around the tiny humans, sure that a bit of corn or lettuce will eventually be offered. Some of the hens are shyer with newcomers, than others. Daisy and Rosie will allow themselves to be offered to the youngsters for petting. We can easily pick up these two and let them be petted. They appear to relax as they are stroked, waiting patiently for the ordeal to be over.
We often describe Sweetpea as “Auntie Sweetpea”. She worries aloud about these strangers who’ve invaded her space. Tulip is standoffish, and the two Wyandottes are sly creatures, giving the little humans wide birth.
We built the nest boxes so that we can collect the eggs from outside of the henhouse by lifting the hinged lid and reaching down into the nests. Although this little child is too young to grasp the concept that hens lay eggs, she still expressed delight in finding a hidden egg waiting for her. Who doesn’t?
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