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Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken

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That’s the name of a great long picture book, which is a wonderful audiobook, but it’s also completely relevant to the baby chick, whom Tabby named Louise. Oh, Louise. Are you familiar with animals imprinting? When a chick is born and hears it’s mother peep to it and sees it when it’s born, it imprints upon it. Thus-whatever it hears and sees first is its “mother.” In Louise’s case-rejected by the mother, hatching in my hand, cared for from the first moment by us-she has imprinted upon people. Which is completely adorable and sweet-she runs after us, stands on our shoes, wants to be near us-but is also a bit maddening.  I’d like her to be outside scratching around on the ground, foraging for food, learning to be a chicken. But she becomes extremely agitated when we leave her and is very tiny so manages to get out of everything and runs after us. Which leads to things like peeping forlornly at the back door:
Baby Louise
Basically she would like us to sit outside with her all the time. And if you scratch your fingers in the dirt she’ll come over and peck and scratch-responding just like the other chicks do when their mother scratches in the dirt for them. I’ve managed to escape and leave her outside and I don’t hear the usual plaintive peeping call, so maybe she’s settled down a bit. The other two chicks are doing fine, a bit bigger than Louise, and I fear they are developing little rooster combs. Of the four born at the start of the summer the two black chicks have turned out to be roosters. I feel like we get a very high rooster ratio from our chicks. They just started crowing yesterday.
Thompson & Thompson
Laura and Mary, at death’s door when they were pecked by their mother, have turned out to be beautiful fluffy hens.
Laura & Mary, grown upAnd the final bit of chicken news is that Baldy is no longer bald! She has been completely bald on her back for many months (from the dreaded mite infection which affected almost all of them.) Last week, quite suddenly, her back was covered with poking out feather shafts. It actually made me really icky to look at. She was somewhat porcupiney.  The next day you could see the tips of the feathers in the shafts and today she looks quite good (5 days later.) Hooray for not needing a sweater this winter!
Porcupine Chicken

Tomorrow is our first day of school. We’re kicking off this last day of summer in true summer fashion-someone slept until 10am, someone else has been watching hours of Pokemon & Phineas and Ferb, and everyone is still in pajamas.  Our plans for today are to get in one more good bike ride and meet up with friends for a frozen yogurt.


About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

2 responses »

  1. Enjoy the back to school routine. My last child finished his schooling last year. My first year without a school routine to live with, has been very different. I am glad all the hens are doing well including Louise. I always want to go and buy some hens after I read your blog Sarah. We have a den of foxes behind our back fence and they would make life very dangerous for any hens. Cheers 🙂

    • Thank you, Linny! It would definitely be hard to keep chickens with a fox den right there. You’d really have to keep them locked up tightly.


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