Monday, August 4, 2014

Hen Update: Chicken Shuffle

Moxie is a juvenile Black Australorp like this one. (photo from

Back in May, I succumbed to second round of 2014 chick-buying and bought three new chicks:  One Silver Wyandotte, one New Hampshire Red, and one Black Australorp.  This weekend I gave the Black Australorp away to a friend who had been raising two hens within San Luis Obispo city limits and discovered an awful truth:  One of her hens, "Tammy," was actually Mr. Tammy.  And Mr. Tammy had begun crowing.

And so began a chicken shuffle of sorts.  She managed to find Mr. Tammy a home at a nearby nursery, with a nice but eccentric lady who loves having hens and roos around her plants to perform insect control and just to liven the place up a little more. (There is nothing better than shopping for landscape plants and getting followed around the place by a gang of roosters and a giant turkey, believe me.)

Once that was done, I gave my friend our Black Australorp, Moxie, since I had three new youngsters and could therefore part with one and still have two to keep each other company.  It is never wise to introduce just one young hen into an entire flock -- there is safety in numbers for youngsters when it comes to the pecking order.  And they do form close relationships with their "siblings" even if they are different breeds who've just grown up together. Cleo and Chloe are quite close, as are Portia and Ellen. And soon Callie and Ginger will join the flock and take their place on the roost with the other girls.

The real Moxie and her new friend Loretta.

The first night, Callie and Ginger were peeping a bit pitifully and looking for their friend, but by morning they seemed to have resumed business as usual. I noticed the same thing when I gave Evil Red to the winery.  Ellen and Portia seemed to notice her absence and it upset them.  So it's interesting to note the relationships that form, even between animals we don't credit for being the most intelligent of creatures.

So Moxie will now get to be Loretta's new friend.  I hope it all works out, I'm glad to have reduced my flock by one and I know Loretta will be happy with another hen to keep her company.  And hopefully my friend will be relieved she no longer has to worry about violating the city's ordinance banning roosters from within city limits, plus she'll get to sleep in a little more without Mr. Tammy greeting the dawn, too.

And since happy hens lay happy eggs, it's a win all the way around. I love happy endings.


  1. I do believe Wyandottes are so named for the Wyandot Native Americans. Who inhabited here where I live! I went to Wyandot Run elementary :). I'm amazed how many poultry breeds originate here!
    I always love the chicken updates. Glad to know about keeping them in numbers. Wouldn't think they would be sensitive to that.

    1. Oh, that is exciting to know where my Callie's gene pool came from originally! They are beautiful birds, and it's nice to know they're native. I've noticed all chickens definitely need a flock to feel safe and comfortable with, but within the flock they do actually hang out in cliques, usually divided up by age and how long they've known each other. Cool, huh?