Posted Aug 30, 2014
Soon after moving to our micro farm I fulfilled a lifelong dream - CHICKENS! Let others reach for the stars. My grandpa raised Dominiques his whole life and if it was good enough for him it was good enough for me.
I remodeled part of the barn at the bottom of the hill, built a large enclosed pen, purchased feed, bowls, and every chicken accessory known to man. After months of preparation. I purchased twelve Dominique pullets.
Dominiques are known for being docile and even-tempered, and are prodigious producers of brown eggs. As they matured, my hens lived up to this reputation.
My favorite Dominique was not part of this group. Word got out in the neighborhood that I was pampering hens and from time to time a new chicken would show up unannounced at the barn. Most of them stayed awhile as range chickens and eventually moved on. One stayed for the next eight years.
We called her Baby. She was a Dominique of unparalleled quality. She enjoyed being stroked, followed me around the yard, and often sat with me.
Baby nested on a shelf in the barn foyer during the winter, spending most of her days pecking in the yard or the woods behind the house. When the weather got warmer she slept in the maple tree in the back yard. Each April, out of practice, it took her several attempts to reach the lowest branch that could support her.
She'd stand on the edge of the deck, study the branch intently, then vigorously flap her wings and heave her fat self up into the air as far as she could, barely grazing the edge of the branch. Inevitably, on her first try, she slipped and fell to the ground with a great squawking, mangled clamor.
A few summers after coming to live with us Baby disappeared for a month or so. One day she reappeared - followed by a clutch of 12 chicks.
As her brood grew, all but one of them left. Foofoo remained many years after her mother died, continuing the family tradition of falling out of the maple tree in April.
In our home it's not springtime until a chicken has fallen out of the tree!