Friday, May 6, 2011

The history of Honey

Say hello to Honey:

You may remember her as one of the three adult hens who came to live with me in January after a girlfriend of mine couldn't take care of them any more (from left to right: Thumper, Honey, Skippy):

For the first few weeks, these three stuck together like glue:

They were buddies:

Three peas in a pod:

and they seemed to feel most at ease when they were close together:

But then, Thumper and Skippy started venturing out and establishing their place in the flock pecking order. Honey's extremely docile nature, however, seemed to hold her back. She clearly didn't care much for rambunctious and if there's one word that describes my chickens, that would be it.

Her "safe spot" became the roost at the far end of the chicken run and she began spending more and more time here:

This would've been fine, except the only time I would see her get down, would be at night when she would go in to roost.

I wound up hanging a feeder over the roost for her, just so I knew for certain she was eating:

Every morning, I would hold the waterer up to her perch so I could see her drink. It was getting a little ridiculous.

But this is what would happen when she would get down:

and she would retreat back to her overhead perch in the corner:

I was catering to her more and more.
And she was becoming much more friendly with me. She would fly to my arm in the mornings for her breakfast treat:

And jump over to sit on me when I sat in the chicken run:

One morning, I walked into the run to find her bloody on her roost. Part of her ear lobe had been torn away and she had abrasions on both sides of her face and around her eyes:

As I wiped her down, bits of flesh and tissue came away on the paper towel:

I dabbed Blu-Kote, an antiseptic, on the worst parts:

...and told her she had just earned a night at the Critter Farm Hotel:

She seemed unimpressed with her room initially:

And decided she needed to do a bit of exploring:

as well as a walk-about:

...followed by some sight-seeing, before she could finally settle down for the night:

When I let her out the next morning, she seemed recuperated and ready to return to her flock:

And all was well:

and good:

until they all ganged up on her again and, this time, significantly damaged the back of her head and neck. Back to the laundry room first-aid center she went:

She seemed much more at ease the second time around with the whole crate routine and, after another relaxing night's rest in a first-class, luxury space, she was ready to tackle another new day:

What I hadn't counted on, though, was that she had decided at some point in the night that she wasn't going back. To the coop that is.

And she promptly ventured out to begin her new life:

To Be Continued...


  1. An amazing story! I am breathlessly awaiting the next chapter in the life of Honey Chicken.

  2. those hen houses can be tough places! i can't wait to hear what happened!

  3. Ah Danni look right, that is my Hoppy who now rest in peace, but she lived as a lone chook for many years in my back yard after a major leg injury. She was one very happy chook. I think you will find Honey will be a happy girl all on her own... well as long as she is allowed to stay in her chicken 5 star condo!
    LiBBiE in Oz

  4. Well, that is disconcerting, I imagine. I know it would upset me.
    Thanks for the doctoring tips.
    Have a good weekend!

  5. Oh no, now I'm worried about her. She needs some new friends because chickens shouldn't be alone.

  6. LOL. Loved this. Go Honey. I have an elderly, arthritic Blue Orpington, Blue Angel, who lives away from the other chooks now. She has her own hen house to sleep in at night. During the day she dust bathes under the horse float or hangs out in the carport, trilling gently for food when she sees me. I have to feed her separately from the rough guinea fowl and the milling ducks. She seems very happy in her new life.

  7. Can't wait to hear the rest of Honey's story. Have great weekend!

  8. Oh I do hope this story has a happy ending she seems like such a lovley little thing.

  9. Hello! I found you blog quite by a happy accident, and I love it. I have a "farm" too, only it's a cat farm, Hubby and I have 13. We are certifiably crazy cat folks. Come by and visit some time!

  10. Poor chicken. I bet the goat boys would welcome her!

  11. I can't say I blame her for deciding not to go back to the coop! Buff Orpingtons are such sweet docile girls.

  12. Well, I don't blame her one bit! Honey knows that it's just going to be worse if she goes back in with those bullies. And they most likely will kill her. I can't wait to see what Honey's solution is...

  13. I hope this winds up with her living in the house or in a separate pen, and not something awful...

  14. Poor Honey! They really ganged up on her, didn't they? Looks like Honey may become a barn chicken,keeping the donks and goats company!

  15. Oh, I HATE "to be continued" stories . . . I'm sitting on the edge of my seat waiting patiently to hear how sweet Honey makes it in this cruel world! She does make it, right . . . or you wouldn't be sharing this story with us . . . right?

  16. I've heard that hen pecking can be brutal, but I'd no idea that's what it looked like; what an eye opener.

    From where did you get the Blu-Kote?

  17. She's going to be a house chicken! We have one!

  18. An additional thought: Did the brutal, physical attacks start AFTER you began protecting her, feeding her, spending more time with her? Honey may be the victim of dangerous schoolyard bullying because of jealousy.
    This just occurred to me, but I would never put her back into the coop with the bullies.

  19. Awhhhh..that's a sad story..howcome they're all picking on Honey?? I didn't know they did that..She deserves an extra special treat or something..

  20. Honey certainly knows her own mind! "Mama, let me live in the house and I'll lay eggs right by the stove for you!"

    Nancy in Iowa

  21. Honey is so beautiful. I guess there's no guarantee you'll be accepted if you are gorgeous. I hope Honey finds happiness on the farm without the bullies.

  22. Ahhhhhhhh - poor Honey!! Those mean ole bitties!! I do hope this turns out good . . . . .

  23. awwwww Honey; but good for her for picking up the pieces and moving on :)

  24. Those mean girl hens! I've seen it with my own eyes. Looking forward to the next chapter.

  25. Paula - I got the Blu-Kote at my local Wilco store, but you can find it at most farm & feed stores. It has been part of my farm first-aid kit from the very beginning. Careful, though - it stains terribly.

    Zitrone - No, I truly don't think it's a case of jealousy. The girls as a group are, indeed, bullies, but what I think sets them off is when somebody looks or acts differently (Dottie, my White-crested Black Polish hen, is the case in point). In this situation, Honey acted so skittish around everyone and then wouldn't interact with them normally. For a while they ignored her and then - suddenly - something shifted. I have no idea what it was, but then at least 4 of them became very focused in "getting" her. :-(

    Hi Diane - see my answer to my mom above. :-)

  26. Oh Honey poor thing that looks terrible. Poor chicky :(

  27. I just found your blog -- sweet! And I was fascinated by Honey's story. I have had a super-pecked girl in my small flock too. The sole bantam (cochin frizzle) has been mercilessly pecked since the beginning, but over the winter it got much worse. One hen is a real bully, and lately the others have joined in. Having only limited run space (no free range) there was just no place for her to hide. I finally gave her away, fearful that sooner or later she would be killed. Sniff. I miss her. I do want to get more banties, but not until they can have their own separate coop. I look forward to reading your blog!


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