The Story Of Elf
We brought Elf home on March 10th, 2016. We had around 15 chickens, and wanted to add a few more. So we went to our local Co-op and picked out 8 chicks, 2 Easter Eggers (Elf was marked as an EE), 2 White Leghorns, 2 Production Red's, 1 Black Sex Link, and one Black Australorp. I was so excited, and had my fingers crossed that they would all turn out to be girls. Here is a picture of an EE at Co-op:
And here are our chicks on their way home:
After we had them all cozy in their brooder, we went out to get a few more chicks at Tractor Supply Co. the day after. We bought 6 White Leghorn pullets. Here are the chicks at TSC:
Cornish Rock chicks.
White Leghorn pullets.
Black Australorp chicks.
I just loved these cute little banties
Here are the ducklings, they were just adorable.
Anyway, back to the story. I was thinking about names. And I just couldn't find a name that would stick for one of the little EE's. Here is a picture of her (Elf):
I loved the little black decorations around her eyes, and they kinda reminded me of eye liner. So she was quickly dubbed "e.l.f" after the well known makeup brand. She was changing, and I found out she was actually a Production Red. Her black decorations were gone along with her pretty fluff, but elf it was.
I thought she was a cockerel at first, and she had the temperament of one:
She loved to jump around on top of the brooder!
She was an independent little thing, and when she was on the nest she was very protective and would peck you harder than any chicken I've ever had.
When she was a few months old though, she sprained her ankle, and I had to give her half a baby aspirin every day. This is when she started becoming more docile and calm, and she would let me hold her and pet her, and she loved to take a quick nap when I was holding her. Here she is on a warm summer afternoon after taking her aspirin:
I would put the pill in a raspberry, so she learned to beg for more after I had given her one.
She recovered quickly, here she is after recovering:
Elf loved to always find new hiding places for her eggs, one day it might be under a bush, another might be under the coop, some days she would lay in the coop. I tried to teach her to lay her eggs in the coop, but nevertheless, she preferred the outdoors.
So, as a few months passed she got along fine. Going along with her regular routine, until one day one of my girls “Seagull” disappeared. We figured out it was coyotes, because just a day or two later we caught another coyote trying to grab one of the girls. Thankfully, the attack was unsuccessful. We were cautious, but a few months had passed and we hadn’t seen another one since. Until one cloudy day, Elf disappeared. I was frantic. We searched, and searched, and searched for her. Not one feather was found. I was upset, but when you let your chickens free range in a rural area, what can you expect? I was very upset, and continued to search. But she wasn’t found, and I accepted the fact that she was gone.
Well, she was still remembered but I didn’t look for her anymore after a week. And when you have problems with hawks, owls, coyotes, dogs, skunks, foxes, etc. You can’t just think a chicken will live that long out there by itself. And “Agnes” my Leghorn pullet went missing one day too, but she was found the next day. After that, I began wondering if Elf might still be alive. But, Agnes could fly and probably roosted in a tree, and Elf was too heavy to roost.
One frosty morning in late January, (A month after Elf went missing) I was out with my flock under our back deck. And I heard a rustling sound under a bucket, I looked back at it and my first thought was, either an opossum or a cat was under there. I kind of looked at it for a few seconds, but the rustling had stopped. When I heard it again I looked back and there was a head poking out of it. I was surprised, it looked like my Red sex link, Sunshine, at first glance. I lifted the bucket up. And I saw Elf.
I was shocked. But I knew I had to get her some food and water, so I picked her up and quickly ran to the coop. She was so light, even lighter than my Silkie. I showed her the feed and she started eating without thinking, after a minute or two I moved the waterer over to her and of course, she began drinking. She literally drank for at least 2 or 3 minutes without stopping. Since she was so dehydrated she puked after drinking so much. I went inside, and told my mom and she told my dad, and my dad told me to bring her inside. So we moved her inside into our chick brooder. She was pretty weak the first day or two, but after that she began recovering very quickly. When she had been in the brooder for 3 or 4 days, I took outside one warm day to forage. She scratched and pecked around, and followed the other girls. Of course, one of my Black sex links and Elf’s sister “Piglet” were picking on her, and I took her back inside.
While staying inside, she would sometimes get lonely and I would go down there and she would look up at me and began making a purring noise, as if to say “I’m lonely”, and when I pet her and she would lay down and go to sleep. And even though she didn’t (and still doesn’t) like our inside kitten “Roswell”, he liked her and would sit on our stairs (the brooder was next to the steps) and would contently watch her for minutes on end.
Here she is in her brooder:
I continued to take her outside every day, and she continued to get stronger and stronger. And pretty soon, the other girls had accepted her back into the flock. This was her foraging a couple of days ago:
She is more docile than she has ever been before, and loves my company. And when she is ready to go back inside, she stands next to the door and looks up at me. She is very sweet, and I know that it was a miracle that she survived. She is now back in the coop, with her sisters.
I hope you all enjoy this story of my sweet girl, Elf.