The visitors who recently entered my yard through a space in the fence from the neighbor’s yard are quickly entering my heart.
It’s been just a few weeks, but ever since they showed up they keep coming back to cluck, scratch and just hang out in the yard.
Here they come, checking, poking about, roaming free, digging up worms and scratching in the dirt. Every morning now I look for them, and they seem to be looking for me! I think they may have a keen sense of sight, or maybe sense of movement — as soon as they notice the smallest activity in the house, there they are, making those clucking chicken noises that make me laugh and my heart smile.
The dogs don’t seem to be taking to them as quickly as me, but they do seem to be coming around and getting along okay. Especially my older guy, 12 year old Jake. The backyard is his kingdom, and he proudly and diligently watches over it. The first time he saw the chickens messing around in his kingdom he was not at all thrilled. He hasn’t hurt them, but I see him gazing with this talking balloon overhead: “Hmm. . . what’s for dinner!” Thankfully with him, a loud NO is enough to let him know the day has come to open the gates to the kingdom . . . and share the yard with our new feathered friends.
I believe he even enjoys them a little — he’s long had two parrot siblings in addition to his “sister” Jessie. I see him observing the hens’ goings-on in his domain as they casually peck around him in the grass. Sometimes, I sneak a peek out the back windows and see him calmly gazing at them doing their chicken-y things. He seems entranced, like he’s watching chicken TV! Mostly though, he pays no attention . . . except I’ve noticed he has a yen for their poo, which of course mama don’t love.
Anyway. The hens don’t seem to mind Jake’s presence at all . . . perhaps they know he doesn’t pose a threat. Now 4-year old Jessie, my other dog, is a loose cannon on four legs.
Luckily, Jessie’s never been big on the backyard unless I’m out there. She’s a homebody, hanging pretty much by my side and keeping an eye on her kingdom - the indoors. As it turns out, that’s a good thing for the chickens. But nature does call, and throughout the day Jessie answers.
The first time Jessie saw the girls in the backyard it was chaos. And perhaps because at first sighting she resembled a cat . . . Jessie actually managed to get a small chunk of feathers from the fluffy Bantam’s butt.
Just the other night arriving home, I heard barking out back. This whole chicken blended family thing is so new (oh hush, I know . . . it’s only been a few weeks and here I am, talking blended family. I can’t help myself!) I’m definitely revealing a measure of my personal crazy . . . these girls aren’t even mine! In fact I’ve been trying to figure out exactly who’s they are, and, well, it’s a mystery!
I’ll tell you about the mystery later . . . back to the scene on my arrival home the other night. So there’s barking out back, immediately sending me into panic. Rushing back there, I take in the scene: Jessie’s got a couple of the chickens cornered, giving them the what-for. A simple reprimand put an end to her little reign of, well, the hens were aflutter and clearly irritated with my mouthy blonde, but terror . . . yeah, not so much.
In fact that was a couple days ago and I am happy to report that those hens look as if they’ll be visiting awhile . . . they’ve continued to squeeze through that fence every day since Jessie’s offense.
My neighbor told me she’s occasionally heard bouts of barking in the days since the hens hit the scene . . .not something my house was ever known for. I’ve made a point to go out with Jessie several times now, giving her a stern NO when her ears have perked and hackles risen at the sight of a hen.
All in all, things seem to be getting kind of . . . routine! And I absolutely love it. In fact I find myself actually wishing these chickens were mine . . . I really am kind of falling in love. I hope they stick around . . . everyone seems to be finding their little pecking pack order. Now about the mystery of where these girls really live . . . I’m on the case and will report to ya soon!