Naming Your Chickens

Helen 2014

“Do you name your chickens?”  It’s a legitimate question we’re often asked. Unless one is raising a dozen or fewer chickens to keep as pets, the answer is usually no. With well over 100 chickens in our flock it would be hard to remember who’s who even if I did decide to call them something. But the main reason I won’t name them is due to the inherent risks pastured and free-range chickens may encounter on any given day. The ability to roam freely and forage for food brings joy to a chicken’s life, there is no doubt. It also brings joy to a passing hawk, owl or eagle to look down from above and see a tasty meal ready for the taking. So if the inevitable does happen (and it has) I’m not quite as shocked to see a bird of prey carry away “Henrietta”, “Molly”, “Gertrude” or whomever. I’ve simply lost a random chicken to mother nature. So I will never give names to my birds.     Except for Helen.    Helen is a genuine sweetheart, always the first to run to me when she hears my voice, the only hen that will fly onto my shoulder and sit there as I walk around the field, the only hen who will come sit on my  lap and allow me to pet her. She seems intelligent and the fact that she is a Wheaten Ameraucana  and lays those beautiful blue eggs doesn’t hurt either. I didn’t want to name her but I couldn’t help it, just one day I started calling her “Helen”. But she is the last chicken I will ever name, I swear.

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