My Girls in the Flock
Who would have thought the pullets my grandkids chose from the feed store last July would become such “friends” to our family? I should have known when our 11 grandkids treated their pullets “pets” to bread crumb, veggie shavings and other treats when visiting the pullets all summer and into the Fall. The pullets were never let out of their coops until they were big enough to know danger signs, could stay pretty close to home and knew when to come when I called them….. Yes, I can call my girls in.
This is what I did when the pullets where young. Whenever I fed them, I would say “chick, chick, chick” constantly, so they associated those sounds with food. The first few times I allowed them outside their coop I did a loop around the yard with bread crumbs and some scratch, the hens following me with no hesitation. Now that I am the “dominant” hen, they follow me without the food when I let them outside their coop in the late afternoons. They enjoy pecking for bugs, scratching for worms and generally hanging around wherever I am in yard. It is a odd sight to my neighbors and passerby’s, I know, to see our flock of six hens waddling to the mailbox by the front road with me, taking dirt baths near me when I am weeding the flowers and handing out with my husband while he chops wood and cleans up the property as well. And of course they love the grandkids and follow them as well when the kids visit on weekends.
If there are times, and there have been a few, when the hens venture out to the sloped down part of our property and we can see them, I just start calling “chick, chick, chick” and they will come flying and hopping over the hill to see what I have for them. I reward them with treats, like one would a good dog.
We gave up eating our flock after our five children grew up and moved to their own homes, so our hens now days all have names. Of course they don’t come by calling their names, yet!! Having a flock of such friendly and smart creatures is comforting. To know they produce high quality eggs for us AND companionship is a blessing to be sure.
It gives my Iowa raised husband and I satisfaction in knowing we are continuing a long time tradition of back yard chickens and in allowing our grandkids to see the “farmstead” side of life, as I also teach them quilting and other hard arts and Pappaw teaches them about the tractors, cooking in Dutch Ovens and the like. Country Life is not for everyone as it takes a lot of time, care and dedication but we would not want to live any other way.
Well, looks like it is time to call My Girls in for the evening.