Hello from the HillTop! Every so often, I’d like to introduce you to our flock. For several reasons, one as mentioned this blog is more a stress reliever for myself then anything. With that, by telling you about each of the flock members I hope to have a way to remember them when they are no longer there. We all have pictures and such of our pets. Chickens are livestock, but so much more. Yet for us, I honestly have so much enjoyment from them, although I’m not there in calling them a pet.
Another reason, is those of you who read this blog who buy our eggs, I’d like you to know who are laying your eggs. This is essentially knowing where your food comes from to a WHOLE new level for the consumer. But let’s face it, when you open a carton of pretty eggs from us, you look at them and thing, “Oh these ones are so pretty.” Or, “This looks like a newer layer!” Or our favorite, “That seriously looks like it hurt!!”
Just like for us, our chickens can become conversation topics around your home. It’s like you know them, and some of you do as you visit to pick up eggs.
Our HillTop Highlight is Rapunzel, a almost one year old (come August 14th), Silver Laced Wyandotte. Rapunzel was one of our last year “August Additions.” We initially bought our chickens in April of last year and then bought another group after loosing three of our original girls. We added two Silver Laced Wyandotte and two Patridge Rocks. Rapunzel is one of our prettiest girls, and even for her breed she has beautiful feathering, but I may be bias.
Our daughter named this little one Rapunzel. All the August Additions are named for Disney Princesses. When a small chick, Rapunzel was yellow and black but had more yellow than black. She was named for her blonde colored feathers.
Rapunzel is not an overly friendly chicken. Not cruel, but more skittish and shy. She and her Silver Laced “sister” are the only two hens we currently have that do not let us pet them, or even squat submissively, ever. In not wanting to scare our girls into tolerating us, we simply are friendly, but do not push affection on them. This spring she has finally started walking by us without running. Before she’d avoid us like the plague.
She will come close the older she gets, but if you attempt to touch her at all, she will run as fast as possible. However, she continues to slowly come closer.
One of the biggest things I stress to our kids is not to run around the chickens. It makes them even more skittish. It helps to keep the kids in check around the chickens as well. If they aren’t allowed to run and yell, startling the chickens, then it starts to allow trust to be built between her and us.
Rapunzel was one of the last of our girls to start laying. She lays a smaller, medium sized egg. They are some of my favorite, not because of any reason other than they stand out within our group of brown eggs. Most of our girls lay a very traditional looking brown egg (with the exception of a couple we have with spots). Our Silver Laced Wyandottes lay very light, off-white eggs. They are a soft cream and sometimes almost look more rounded then an egg color. These offer such a contrast in our eggs it’s exciting to see their eggs. Occasionally they even appear to be almost a perfect circle, they are an odd little egg, but ever consistent.
Rapunzel is honestly one of the lowest, if not the lowest, chicken in the pecking order. It saddens me to see anyone in this position, but the reality is she is very gentle with the other chickens. So much in fact the others tend to take advantage of it.
I think that adds to her skittishness. She tends to stay as close to the other girls she arrived with and typically is the one you can see moving around the coop to avoid or upset anyone. Many times you’ll find her as a loner. She is the main one I see get pecked by the older and higher pecking chickens. Even her Silver Laced “sister” pecks at her occasionally.
I personally like to see her as if she’s extending grace each time she gets pecked. Grace, “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners.” Now this is not a post to press into your faith, or lack there of. However, if you watch the interaction of people at work, while driving, eating out, or even simply within our own family dynamics, you’ll see how crude and cruel we can be to each other. So many people live the life and belief of getting even or retaliating. But when one extends grace to another, it’s recognizing the wrong doing, but simply saying, “I forgive you, you’ve done nothing to receive this forgiveness and favor, AND will not hold it against you.”
Rapunzel does that on a daily basis. While some “chicken experts” would argue, this is survival of the fittest or even just how things roll, I would argue the lowest chicken on the pecking order truly gives a good example of grace. They are pecked constantly, when they try to eat, roost or even lay an egg. But they take it and move on.
Tonight as the girls were all in the coop, I watched Rapunzel as she was the last one at the food station eating. She simply waited until all the other girls were done and on the roost to eat. Why, because she was pecked away any other time she tried.
Then I saw her go to roost, and her own sister pecked her to move. She simply found another place to roost. I think at times she may be the strongest. Because she finds new ways to live her life each day without retaliating.
We have 12 new ladies we added to our flock this year. While they are not integrated together (littles and bigs) they will be this fall. It makes me wonder if Rapunzel will move up the rank or simply keep at the bottom. Even if she stays at the bottom, my hope she has another chicken to befriend.
Go and befriend a gentle soul today. Remember, just because someone extends grace to you, it doesn’t mean they are a push over.