A big ruckus in the yard this morning brought me running. I thought I heard a dog barking and that rarely bodes well for free range hens! Boy, was I wrong. The barking was coming from Ruby, our golden comet hen. She was loudly defending her breakfast against attack by an aggressive crow. I arrived just in time to see the crow back away and take off. Three cheers for Ruby!
Here’s another Ruby story. We’d had her for a few months when we realized that one of our “hens” was a rooster. Before the rooster matured, Ruby was all mine. She hung out with me when I was in the garden and did a little subservience dance when she wanted me to pick her up. She’d flatten herself a bit, lower her head and stomp her feet. I’d pick her up and we’d visit until she was ready to join the flock again. Both of us enjoyed this daily ritual.
Then Big Bird, the rooster, grew up and started looking like a real man. Right after that, Ruby dumped me. She started dancing for Big Bird and I was persona non grata. Our cuddling days were over. If I needed to pick her up to check her for mites or anything else, I had to pluck her off her roost in the coop under cover of darkness. I was broken-hearted but glad to see her so happy with her fellow.
Since Big Bird passed away a few weeks ago, Ruby has come back to me. Sometimes she dances for me twice a day! It’s like old times. I guess some girls just need an alpha figure in their lives. I’m enjoying our chat sessions, but I know they are fleeting. We’ll get a new rooster this spring and once again Ruby will tolerate me only because I happen to show up each morning with the organic feed and dried mealworms that she loves. She’ll eat out of my hand if I bring a special afternoon snack, like a banana or peach, but there won’t be any cuddles.
I am already steeling myself for the blow. Maybe one of the chicks we are hand-raising will value me the way Ruby used to. A girl can dream, can’t she?