Why is it that women love, and are dedicated to, their hens? I think I know the answer. The hens show the familiar attributes of our earliest female friends. Remember those high school girls you hung out with? They were all unique and they acted out of heart and spirit, and yes, hormones. They were glandular and unpredictable. They were wonderful!
Each of the hens in my flock has a unique personality, much like my schoolgirl friends. Take Daisy, for instance. I had a big, blond, friend, just like Daisy. She wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box but she had a big heart and enough love for the entire student body. She found it unbelievable when people were unkind. When our hen Daisy gets pecked, she squawks in disbelief then looks at the perpetrator with an expression on her face like, “What did you do that for?”
Then there’s Poppy. Poppy is the “no nonsense” matriarch of my flock. She is strong and intelligent. Not in the least gullible. She settles squabbles with a sharp peck on the cheek and the matter is finished. I had a friend like that. Wonder what happened to that “wise beyond her years” girl.
Tulip is large in beauty and “not so large” in personality. She is popular and respected through no doing of her own. Tulip sits sideways on the roost at night, taking up extra space because, she believes that, “I deserve more space, because I am me.” She is a statuesque and would be elected homecoming queen (if there was such a thing for chickens).
Sweetpea is unsure of herself. Daisy likes her, but then again, Daisy likes everyone. Sweetpea (a barred rock) is a standard kind of chicken, a hard worker (at laying eggs) and hopes that the other hens will not mistreat her and that people will like her. She is a cheerleader for others. When another hen lays an egg, she cackles loud and long, as if she herself had done the deed. Remember that girl in high school? I hope she married well and has lots of kids that love her, or, had a great career and has lots of nieces and nephews that love her.
Petunia, who now lives elsewhere, is untrusting and untrustworthy. She’s the insecure girl who has to work hard to be in the “in crowd”. She is nervous, has a sharp tongue (beak), and agitates others. As teenagers we tried to ignore this “mean girl”. As flock managers we have the option of removing “mean girls” from our environment, as we have done with Petunia.
Our deceased Rosie was the gal that was picked on and somewhat annoying because she wouldn’t stand up for herself. When I think back on my high school days, I can remember a “Rosie” or two. Why were these kids excluded? How sad and frustrating it must have been for them to want to be a part of things and just not know how to break in.
I watch the hens and understand that animals have similar desires as humans. We want to be a part of a flock, group, or a club. We want to be respected and not abused. We want to play around with others of our kind. We want treats and sometimes to be petted. We want to snuggle up at night and be safe and secure. It’s not so difficult to see why chicken lovers find their hens entertaining and loveable. They are so like us.