It is the standard practice of days-old chicks that when a massive hand descends from above, they choose to run away from it. Not so in the case of Chicky Gaga, a courageous and eccentric Polish crested chick. Instead of running away from the hand--like any reasonable chick would do--she jumped into it, and she has been ours ever since. Knowing what we did about her personality and her eventual appearance as an adult, we decided unanimously to name her "Chicky Gaga".
Chicky Gaga settled into her new home immediately. Not only was she absolutely fearless of us, but she was also bold with the older chickens as well! We had to staple a feed bag over the chickenwire barrier between the chicks and the older hens, because Gaga was so friendly, she'd patiently stand there and let the older hens curiously peck her on the face (hence the little black scab on her beak in the photo above.) Whenever she heard our voices or saw us appear at the brooder, she'd rush over, tilt her head to the side, and look up at us with one bright, curious eye. She was immediately my favorite.
When the time came to introduce the chicks to the great outdoors, Chicky Gaga was naturally one of the first I chose. It didn't take her long to figure out that there was a big world out there for her to explore, full of fascinating new discoveries and delicious things to eat!
Things only became more interesting as Chicky Gaga grew, entering that awkward adolescent phase where she resembled a gnarly mutant dinosaur more than a chicken.
Chicky Gaga's fearlessness was more and more apparent with each passing day. Even a cat batting at her crest was not enough to cause her alarm.
When we scattered leaves in the pen, Chicky Gaga was happy to dig through them with the rest of the chickens. After a while, she got tired and sat down in the pile to rest, quickly becoming buried by the leaves the others kicked up. Was Chicky Gaga concerned? OF COURSE NOT! She napped contentedly while buried in a pile of leaves.
Chicky Gaga? Where have you gone?
As Chicky Gaga grew into adulthood, our friendship only became stronger. Whenever she heard me call, she'd come running, and though I usually had treats to offer, she was much more interested in my company than whatever I had to eat. The one exception she'd make, however, was for crickets. Chicky Gaga can't pass up those crunchy black treats!
If I get too far away for Gaga's comfort, she will take to the air and fly towards the sound of my voice, just to get to my side that much quicker. The other chickens are content just to run.
When Gaga suffered a scrape on her neck, we brought her into the house for care. She spent most of her time trying to sneak away from the roost I'd designated for her so she could sit on my shoulder instead. I didn't terribly mind Gaga sitting on my shoulder, but I wasn't crazy about the chicken bombs she kept dropping down my back. I finally resigned myself to throwing a towel over my shoulder and hoping for the best, and Gaga finally had her way.
Gaga's wound healed, but her feathers still sometimes stick out at a funny angle where it used to be.
Gaga looking very elegant after we trimmed around her eyes so she could see better.
Chicky Gaga remains the most fearless, curious, and fascinating bird I have ever met. Not only does she bravely chase off cats and dogs, but she will even pursue invading robins to the point that she will launch into the air after them when they take flight. (Apparently, she didn't get the memo that chickens are poor fliers.) She follows me without hesitation around the yard, and will even join me happily on excursions to a nearby park or gas station to hunt for bugs, never once fretting that she might be too far from home. When visitors come around to visit the chickens, she is always one of the first to greet them, and is content to be handled and admired even by strangers and small children. I couldn't hope for a better ambassador for chicken ownership.