As you can hardly help but know, I go into the coop each sunset to give a boost to Tallulah, our largest hen but one (Pip). Ever since I started doing this, she no longer sleeps alone on the edge of the poop pit, without the benefit of her sisters’ considerable combined body heat, and with the (dubious) benefit of their poop raining down on her back. And she’s a white chicken. Am I painting a picture?
I’m happy to do it. It gives me a chance to check on the girls at bedtime, make sure everyone’s okay, and talk to them at eye level. It also provides a last egg check for the day, important when an egg could well freeze and crack overnight.
Lately, it hasn’t just been Tallulah. Pip and Alexia, her Light Brahma sisters, figuring out that it’s easier to be boosted than to hurl their considerable masses up to a four-foot roost, often wait for me, too.
So, when I opened the coop door last night at 4:45, I saw a big white chicken waiting for me on the end of a log, and all other chickens already roosted. As I bent to pick her up, and she opened her wings for me to do so (it really is very charming) my eye caught her leg band.
Yellow, not orange. Pip, not Tallulah.
I looked up to the roosts, and there was Tallulah, at the end of the roost closest to the coop door, pre-roosted. Unprecedented.
I swear, she looked proud of herself. I have no idea how she did it, and I will be watching to see if she does it again. She seems to have stopped laying for the winter; is she lighter without eggs to weigh her down? It’s not impossible, given that there’s an assembly line of several eggs waiting to be laid in a laying hen at any given time.
I boosted up Pip, and made a big fuss over Tallulah. I know it was probably just for me, but maybe she knew that I was proud of her, too.