Bloody “Queen Bea” Beatrice often taps at the back door for her dinner
The laying hens and the guineas and I have reached a compromise about their confinement. Around Happy Hour, I spring The Girls, as they’re collectively known, from jail. During the day, otherwise, I come out and give them treats while they’re locked up in their run. Only Pauline makes a daily escape to go to her trusty bird feeder. When she’s had her fill, she waits patiently on the back porch for me to let her back in the pen.
When Happy Hour rolls around, all nine birds RUN to the big dirt pile and do a dusty roll-about. Dirty birds! In the warm dirt, their eyes glaze over with happiness. So between the kid and the chickens, I have to sneakily move wheelbarrowloads when they are not looking. Everyone here loves dirt.
Can you count nine birds? Black Australorps Maggie is hiding behind a guinea. Notice the chaos of construction by the garden gate.
The Girls then do their thing running about the property, usually in threes, scratching and bug-searching and grass-eating. If Tom happens to be mowing, they chase his tractor. They will all end up at the goldfish/frog pond at one point, hoping for an amphibian morsel, but mostly they clean up spilled birdseed from the two feeders flanking the pond. (The frogs know better, and dive deeply at their approach.)
After they’ve had their fill of grass, worms, bugs and clover, they wander back to the back porch. Bloody Beatrice usually comes and sits on the back porch for a bit before the rest, sharing space with Penny the dog. Bea knows we’re inside eating dinner, and she knows if she waits patiently she’ll be the first to get the scraps. She’d be the first to get the scraps anyway because since Bonnie’s passing she is now Queen Bea. That, and she’s the only bird left from our first batch of chicks two years ago so we spoil her rotten. She’s such a dear bird, accepting scratches and pets, being picked up by the kid, etc. Who wouldn’t spoil her.
L-R: Maggie (Black Australorps), Pauline (Gray Leghorn), Bea (Isa Brown), Phyllis (Ameraucana), and Verloe (Rhode Island Red) are wondering if I have dinner scraps for them
After I share the dinner scraps, they wander into their pen and then into their coop to their perches. Before the sun sets it’s time to close the coop door for the night. Goodnight, biddies!