We put my desk in the dining room next to the French doors that look out over the backyard. While I sit here trying to think of clever things to write, I can look out and see what kinds of insanity my birds are getting up to. Half the time they are on the back porch looking in at me, probably trying to figure out why I would just sit there when they so clearly need treats. We have one that comes in now to lay her egg. She is a young hen, she just started laying a week ago. She watched a different chicken come in the house a couple of times and figured it would be worth trying. So one day, when the door was open because we were carrying something in or carrying something out, she waltzed on in like she had done it a million times. Whatever beacon guided her there, I don’t know, but this hen sauntered over to the dog crate we have on the outside wall of the kitchen and hopped on top where we keep a cat bed, typically for the cats. She kicked and wiggled her butt and threw straw around in that bed for a while, then she went outside. She repeated this the next day. And the next. On that third day, she laid a perfect, teeny tiny, brown fairy egg. That’s what they’re called when they are small and are usually either laid by a hen that is brand new, or starting to get old. After she left her present for us, she hopped down and wanted back out. That was 6 eggs ago. She comes in every day, rain or shine, to lay an egg in that cat bed. And then she goes right back out. So we basically get breakfast delivered to our kitchen.
Chickens are funny. We don’t really know what possessed her to try that out, to even try coming in the house. The other chicken does it because she knows that’s where people treats are kept and she gets put right back out. We have another hen, a small brown girl, the same age as the egg in the house chicken, who waits at the door to the coop every night until you come out to close them up. She wants to talk and talk the whole time you are in there gathering the eggs and getting the coop ready for nighttime. Then she gets up in her favorite spot and tucks in for bed. We have chickens that would follow you all over this property, but the minute you acknowledge they are there, start pecking around like they weren’t just following you. You’re not fooling us, chicken. We have a chicken, that when you sit down, she gets in your lap and demands to be held. Not just to sit with you, she wants to be held. Put down your phone, human or I will put it down for you.
And they’re smarter than people give them credit for. They learn and they figure stuff out. If a chicken really wants something, it will find a way to get it. Even if that something is just a warm, dry place in a kitchen to lay an egg.