Crazy Lady in the Coop?

Dec 29, 2018 | 1 comment

Usually, it’s difficult to tell when a chicken crosses the mental line from sane to insane.  Mostly, I think, the trouble is that we have no “chicken normal” to measure against.  Which, when you come to think of it, is the same difficulty we have with our other friends and neighbors.

Sometimes, though, there are clear signs – at least with chickens.  Like when one of them starts laying her eggs just any old where.  In the last few weeks, I’ve found eggs (one at a time, mind you) on the floor of the coop, outside in the run near the water trough, and way under the coop building, itself.  The fact that it’s a new behavior – for months all eggs have been exactly where they should be – leads me to rule out immaturity or a learning deficiency.  Plus, there are eggs properly laid in the nest boxes so I’m pretty sure it’s just one hen that’s gone ’round the twist (as my English friends say).

The situation reminds me of a cat we had back in the early sixties.  She was absolutely beautiful – small and dainty with long black fur.  We called her Sadie.  I can’t remember how we got her but I do know that, at the same time, we had another cat, a big white-bellied Tabby who had her kittens in the laundry basket – nine of them!  The fact that she didn’t have enough buttons on her vest to feed them didn’t faze her a bit.  Within minutes of their arrival, she divided them into two groups – four to her left and five to her right.  All nine grew fat and sassy and, as I recall, I found “good homes” for them among the families of my first-grade students.

But… back to Sadie.  Within days of my giving away the last of those nine kitties, Sadie dropped (literally) her own batch of four kittens one-by-one as she walked down the hallway from one end of the house to the other.  She was totally unconcerned and disinterested.  In fact, we weren’t at all sure she even noticed.  Mother Tabby, however, was right behind her picking up those babies as they fell forth.  She (Tabby) took all four of them (one-by-one) back to the recently vacated laundry basket and happily raised them without a word of admonition to Sadie.

Obviously, Sadie was a little tetched – or, at the very least, had no mothering instinct whatsoever.  What’s going on in our coop isn’t as clear to me.  A crazy chicken?  Probably.  But I don’t think egg-laying can be equated to any sort of maternal instinct so it’s not that kind of problem.  Maybe a little dementia?  Or, perhaps, she’s just acting out because she misses Farmer Nyel.    As always, it’s really hard to tell with chickens…

1 Comment

  1. Nancy

    Love the cat story and I am sure the hen is missing Farmer Nyel !



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