Chickens are a great homestead addition. They have so many advantages. My flock is composed of many breeds. This year an Easter Egger is a surprise pet chicken.
I like my chickens friendly, but don’t try to make pets of them. These can become nuisances quickly.
Instead I choose calm, friendly breeds like Buff Orpingtons, Speckled Sussex and standard Cochins. Barred Rocks and New Hampshires are active chickens, but usually easy going.
Then there are the Arcanas and Easter Eggers. Blue, green and pink eggs are fun to collect. The pullets and hens are wild.
If such a hen is scratching in the dirt and I walk by, she panics and flees squawking loudly. When I spread scratch feed in the evening calling the flock in for the night, I have to stand far from the gate before these hens will come in. Better yet, I leave the coop so they can enter.
This year is different. I have kept four Easter Egger pullets. Three of them are convinced I am a monster and flee at my approach. The fourth is a surprise pet chicken.
This pullet follows me around at times. She likes joining me in the milk room during milking. She eats oats out of my hand. I can even pick her up, but she isn’t thrilled.
Speckled Sussex hens are friendly. They come racing over to see me. I can pick them up or stroke their backs.
This behavior isn’t so much pet like as calculating. I mean food. They are voracious little things. They come over as much to see if I have some tidbit for them as to see me.
My surprise pet chicken does look for food. Goats are messy eaters and she likes cleaning up dropped feed. She likes getting special tidbits.
But this pullet seems to like my company as well. She hangs around places where I’m working and clucks to me. After a time she takes off to hang out with the flock.
This pullet is my kind of pet. She likes my company, but doesn’t stay underfoot.
In “Mistaken Promises” Hazel raises Buff Orpington pullets as a way to become more of a country girl and belong to the local 4-H Club.