In the beginning of March I ordered 15 little White Leghorn chicks from Cackle Hatchery, which is actually where I got my first batch of chicks from back when I was a young teen. At that time I remember I ordered Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds because I figured they would be pretty as well as friendly and lay plenty of eggs. I always heard how Leghorns were flighty and unfriendly, though definitely tops on the egg front, so I decided back then not to go with the cheap and boring looking white hens. This time, however, I got the Leghorns. They have a reputation for being good foragers as well as good layers and I don’t have much time for making pets out of any more animals at the moment, anyway, since I accidentally tamed yet another feral cat.

From the very beginning they were super friendly, very athletic, and extremely curious about everything.  By which I mean they did not take kindly to being confined in their nice, roomy box until old enough to go outside.  The things I went through trying to keep them in there!  WAY too many times I heard this distinctive little “pat-pat” sound and realized they had gotten out and were running around on the carpet.  I swear, they sounded different when they were being “bad” than when they were staying put.  Totally cute, but, a lot more energetic and good at flying than other chicks I’ve seen over the years!

After a couple weeks, with sunny weather and some decent feathers, they got to go outside in their pen.  They loved it, and it was fun going out to pick them up at dusk every night, transferring them from their little circular feathery cuddle into their nighttime box in the house.  Excuse my gushing, but I always love how babies and baby animals have that soft, warm feeling when you pick them up.  So yeah.  By now I kind of had to admit I was not sticking to my resolution to be just business about them.  They were too adorable not to coo over.

I had made them a portable metal and wire fencing house that is relatively easy to move around to a different spot every day and was planning to make two more and split them into three houses as they grew.

Things were going along with occasional hiccups (when a chick would escape and have to be caught) when they finally decided to start roosting.  Now we had Problems.  Because apparently two to three foot high perches are for inferior chickens.  These chickens need to be at least eight feet high for restful sleep, and preferably more.  They started working very hard at getting out and would spend all day undoing the door ties, pushing things, etc., so that when evening came they could fly to the top of their house and thence to the cottonwood branches.

I have never, ever met such motivated birds in my life.  They LOOK quite innocent, don’t they?

But really, they are a ravening horde!

Those snowy little dames do not really like their commercial feed that much and act like the chickens from the Chicken Run movie – “let’s diet, exercise, and practice flying as much as possible!”  I am working on revamping their house to make it better for their roosting needs but still movable, but at the moment I am embarrassed to admit they are pretty much free range hens.  They chase the cats, have eaten ALL the veggies (so I will need to restart that before I can get going on the gardening posts again), and love hanging out under the shady porch and then running pellmell, “pat-pat,” away whenever anyone steps outside.  They will follow people around, come when you call, and try to look in the windows.

So, in the next couple of days I will, I HOPE, manage to get them under control again.  Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed this story of animals changing plans.

Y Girl

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