The Q sisters

26 October 2009
Chickens are creatures of habit, they are practical and they like climbing, so it should not have been a great surprise when I looked out the window from where I am sitting right now to find this looking back.

Quentin wanted to be close to someone and she wanted to rest while watching her friend, the half blind Quince. I think she'll make this one of her permanent perching places unless we move them on.

We bought Quentin and Quince about a month ago and since then Hanno has patiently nursed Quince through a nasty eye infection. She looks to be recovered now but she's blind in that eye and a little undernourished but I think she'll be fine in the long run. Generally new chickens would be well and truly integrated into the flock by now but Hanno separated Quince from the other girls when he noticed her bad eye, and Quentin, voluntarily, followed her. Even now she will fly over the fence, away from the other hens, to be with Quince. There is a loyalty there that is touching and quite fascinating.

Hanno washing Quince.

During the time when Quince's eye was badly infected, her feathers became matted around her head and neck. Hanno washed her a couple of times and gently dried her in the sun. If she could talk, I'm sure she would have thanked him. With all this handling, these two little Sussex hens have become very tame and don't mind at all being picked up, which Hanno often does. He has such a soft heart when it comes to animals. I've seen him many times just sitting on the back verandah, smiling, and watching the two Qs.

And drying her in the sun.

But soon the time will come when they will have to join their coop sisters and free range in the backyard. They're fenced off from the flock now, living on the back verandah, and so Quentin can perch on a bench close to my computer and she can watch over Quince as she scratches for food. People say that chickens are dumb critters and I have certainly found that to be so with some, but like people, there are all types - some funny, some sullen, some smart and some not so. Quentin is a leader, so I'm glad we named her for our first female governor general.

I think Hanno will move them out to join the flock today. Their little wooden fruit box full of straw will go with them and they'll have to roost in the coop, instead of on the rungs of the old chair standing near our bedroom. It's been lovely having two baby chicks peeping at the back door but the time has come for them to move on. I think they'll stay together out there and I think Quentin will always help Quince find the water container and scatterings of grain.

Cocobelle and Heather.

If you take the time to know them, you will see character differences in all your chooks. Lucy, our Old English Game chook is bossy, highly strung and a rebel - she took it upon herself to build her nest in the next door neighbours yard instead of taking to the coop nests when the rest of her broody sisters did. Hanno found her there with five eggs. Cocobelle is our prima donna, Martha is a slow and gentle mother, Heather is the individual with her feathered pants and puffy face, and she is as game as Ned Kelly. I have never seen our chooks just as egg producers, although that is their primary function. They also entertain us, eat every bug they find and teach us that birds of a feather do not always flock together.


  1. Thank you Rhonda, that was beautiful. Isn't it great to find a man who's not afraid to be seen tending so carefully to what some (never me!!!) would consider a disposable pet? I love chooks and kind men.

  2. What a sweet story :)

  3. Hi Rhonda,

    I dream of the day I can have my very own chickens. I hope I can give them as much love and care as you and Hanno - what a lovely post :)

    Chantel from Ashfield

  4. what a gorgeous story! And such a lucky chook to have caring owners that give the love so freely.

  5. Hi again,

    Just thought you might like to have a look at my dad's peacocks - I put 2 photos up with them on my blog last week which is the most current post.

    Hope you have a lovely week Rhonda :)


  6. Glad to hear Lucy is still getting on alright in the neighbors yard. Will her eggs hatch? Is that what you hope for? Will the neighbors get "pick of the litter?" Also glad Quince's eye infection better, even though she has lost sight in the one eye. What a great pal Quentin is. great personalities. Emily

  7. Years ago we did 4-H with our daughters. We found ourselves much more attached to our small flock of chickens than we thought we would be (they were sold at the fair after all the week's activity as is per usual with 4-H generally). In fact, my husband seemed to miss them the most...2 we did not sell and kept a few weeks longer until I gave them to some friends in the country. Yes, we raised them IN TOWN!! One reason we felt we could only do it for half the year, so the neighbors would not protest. We learned so much from them and found some became real pets and as you point out, were smarter than we would have thought possible. Sometimes I miss having chickens...maybe someday we will once again.

  8. What a wonderful story of love and caring.

  9. I love how your Hanno's hands gentle and caring.

    Some of my girls have very distinct personalities. Lucy (I have one, too!) is the aloof matriarch, being the only survivor of my previous flock. Her production is slowing but she gets a reprieve because she's managed to survive the 'coons, bobcats and hurricanes that killed her sisters.

    Brownie is the most tame hen I've ever owned. She comes a-runnin' when I click my tongue and follows me up the stairs for a special treat. DH & I laugh that she would be perfectly content as a 'house chicken' if she were given the privilege.

    I can't help but get attached to my girls. :)

  10. ... and I know both Q's would have given Hanno a hug if they had arms.


  11. I agree with Chantel,
    I hope to have my own chooks too, my young boys would get a lot from the experience. My husband tells me they attract snakes so I hesitate a little.

  12. I loved this post Rhonda! We have 8 free range chooks here as well and they are great for eggs, but they are awesome pets that provide much entertainment. Every time our daughter goes outside all of the chickens RUN towards her like little puppies. Yesterday she was walking between our yard and the neighbors yard and they spotted her. Have you ever seen chickens run as fast as they can towards their master? It is one of the funniest things in the world!

    Blessings to you today!


  13. What a sweet post! Quentin seems like a very sweet little sweet that she looks after Quince.

    I definitely agree that chickens each have their own personality. We live on a small lot in town and started raising chickens (from day old chicks) last January. It's been a fun adventure, both for the kids and for myself. We have an especially personable Araucana named Iris...she loves to sing when she has laid an egg, but also when any of the other girls has laid an egg. If I open the bedroom window and speak to her through it, she'll come to the edge of the fenced area and listen to me, cocking her tufted face as if she truly understands.

  14. we've always wanted to have chickens. Since we live in a teeny tiny old mining town, where you can spit in your neighbor's window if you so choose (I do not and I hope my neighbors would pass on that as well LOL) But the town's rules say that we can not have chickens. :( But my husbands grand father have chickens and they're so fun!
    Thanks for sharing!!!!

  15. Great job with the animal husbandry! We also find ourselves quite attached to our chickens...well maybe not the rooster. He has anger management issues and is a bit of a bully at times.

    You certainly are correct about them having diverse personalities, we get the biggest kick out of watching all of their crazy antics as we work in the garden.

  16. Rhonda -- If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I'd like to come back as one of your chickens. Healthy, cared for, appreciated -- it's a good life.

    We've found that chickens are also calming. They're my husband's antidote to work stress. Anxiety and chickens just can't coexist.

  17. Thanks for talking about your chooks. I seem to take to just about any animal and love to watch the neighbors chickens. I don't know them well enough to describe them that way though.


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