FYI: Raising chickens is not for the faint of heart!!
During Labor Day weekend, a friend of ours gave us their sole surviving chicken. Sadly, dogs had destroyed their other birds. She’s a very pretty, fat and fluffy, black and white hen. We put her in her own coop area so that our flock could become acquainted with her through the fencing before making any attempts at integration. I would visit her multiple times every day, offer her treats, and talk sweetly to her. Regardless of my sweet talk, she would stay as far away from me as possible. I mean, she would spastically and frantically run circles inside the run — like I was chasing her with an axe and picturing her on our dinner table! This went on for about three weeks, along with a couple attempts to merge her with the group, which resulted in gang pecking and me breaking up the West Side Story street fight with a stick.
Then, surprisingly, one day last week, she was different. With her treat in hand, I entered her run area and she ran towards me! This was new. Strangely, she stopped at my feet and hunkered down to the ground. I wondered if she was hurt or sick. When I bent down to check her, she let me pet her. Wow, I thought, she’s really taming down and getting to like me. I was so excited, I had to run and tell hubby, “The new chicken let me pet her!” The next day, the same thing happened. Too cool! Then, it hit me. No other hen had ever behaved this way around me and I wondered if she could be, umm, you know — amorously motivated. I asked my husband, “Can hens get — horny? Is that possible?” He said he imagined that they could. I mean, why not? If a female praying mantis can devour her mate after sex, why couldn’t a female chicken be horny? Seemed plausible.
Well, my brain couldn’t stop questioning this possibility, so I consulted my friend, Google, for the true answer. My search led me to a discussion on the backyard chickens website titled: Excuse me – horny hen? As it turns out, hens can be horny! Who knew?! The obvious solution is, of course, allowing her access to a rooster so that he may service her, scratch her itch, and otherwise make her happy. It’s only natural, right? I read further and learned of an alternative method to soothe a horny hen — without a rooster. I never would’ve imagined something like this: “If you cannot have a rooster where you live, move, get rid of the chickens, or reach down and put a finger and thumb on each side of her tail feathers and lightly squeeze and wiggle side to side — she will get up and shake it off just like the rooster was there. BUT, she will be back the next time you enter for more of the same. LOL.” WHAT?! I’ve heard of animals receiving artificial insemination, but artificial sexual relations?! I’m not about to be a hen’s surrogate lover! I mean, give a chicken a hand job?! Nuh uh. Not gonna happen.
Yesterday morning, as I was walking toward the coop with my daily treat delivery, and mentally preparing myself to receive another dance-with-the-feathered-pants from our horny hen, I discovered that she was not in her run area. What the…?! Did I leave the door open? No, it was still locked. Where in the heck could she — ahhh, I see. The little fence I’d placed between the two runs had been knocked down and she had escaped her safe haven. She must’ve been extremely motivated! Fearful that I was about to find her lifeless, hen-pecked, blood-soaked body, I ran to the main run to look for/rescue her. But she wasn’t with the other chickens. She wasn’t under the coop either. Curious. As I stood there pondering the possibilities, Frisky, that’s her new name by the way, popped her head out the main coop’s doorway. Well, look at that! I guess she decided it was time to integrate and was determined to make it happen.
Last night, just after sunset, I checked on Frisky and found her perched on top of her mini coop. I went inside, gathered her in my arms and while her claws nearly impaled my arms, I carried her to the main coop and placed her in one of the nesting boxes. I watched through the little window with my iPhone flashlight as she left the box and surveyed her possible sleeping spots. It took her a few minutes, but she finally claimed her place on the roost with the other hens. Yes, it would appear we have successful integration!
As of this morning, Frisky is mostly happily cohabitating with the others. There is definitely a pecking order with those old biddies and they certainly let her know it; however, she seems safe and content. I haven’t witnessed any interaction with the rooster…yet. While I’m not hoping to watch such chicken porn, it might be kind of nice to know that she’s being, umm, satisfactorily serviced by our rooster.
I tell ya, this farmin’ stuff is BRUTAL!