Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The hens who stare at walls

When Eugenia, Aibileen, and Minny joined the family two weeks ago, I was expecting lots of introductory chicken drama – 
hen-pecking, chicken-scratching and such. Didn't happen. The girls are one big flock of happy hens.

If a tasty frozen watermelon treat doesn't incite a feathered fracas, I'm hoping nothing will. 

The new girls have introduced the oddest behavior to the flock, though. 
They stare at the wall of the house.

Resolute, unflinching, eyes wide open, they just stare. 

They've even got Peach and Clara doing it.

Minnie is the worst. Not only does she stare, she stares with her mouth open. 
If chickens drooled, there would be an embarrassing puddle at her feet.

After staring at Minnie staring at the wall, it dawned on me what might be going on.

Maybe it's easier to see and capture bugs up against the wall than it is to pick them out of thin air?
Or maybe it's just chickens being weird. Don't get me wrong – I love my chickens, but they're weird.
They look weird, they act weird, they sound weird, but it's all part of their charm.

And another thing about chickens? They are really, really hard to photograph. They move incredibly fast, 
so unless they're sitting still for a moment, say, staring at the wall, it's hard to keep them in focus.

Then there's the whole kneeling-in-chicken-poop thing trying to get down to their eye level.
Oh, the sacrifices one must make for fresh eggs and a blog post.


  1. Chickens are funny - but I LOVE their clucking and scratching about. Makes a place fee like home. I grew up with them ... but I'm not overly fond of roosters - been chased by one too many.

    Maybe your chickens think within the rough texture, the dark spots (shadows) are bugs... ? It is hysterical that the other ones who have lived there are doing it too. LOL

  2. Here, there are bazillions of teeny weeny red spiders hatching and crowds of them crawling on unlikely surfaces...I wonder if your chickens see something similar. Or maybe they're just weird.

  3. Um, maybe they think the wall is a very large flat screen TV and are waiting for you to "change the channel" eh ;-)

  4. Maybe they're searching for inspiration for the mural they are planning to draw - you know, the one of Big Bird.

  5. Estella from Co.6/14/11, 6:29 AM

    I think you do a very fine job of capturing the chickens. As fast as they may move you still gettum on that there picture box. Hugs to all

  6. Nancy in NC6/14/11, 6:43 AM

    That is weird... I personally have no idea why they would do that. My MIL used to have chickens at her country house but that was years ago and I didn't particularly care for them back then. My views toward them have changed over the years but I don't have any...

  7. Thank you for your sacrifices!

  8. Thank you for kneeling in the poop to get us some wonderful chicken shots to look at. How funny that they stare at the wall. Maybe they are just trying to psyche you out... like, "ha ha... made you look!"


  9. They are checking for bugs. They can get into the stucco. Chickens are more fun than I ever imagined since I am not a bird lover. They are also one of my favorite photography subjects because they are so animated and have such interesting detail. Glad the girls are all getting along.

  10. Yup, I'm thinking bugs as well. All it takes is one or two bug snacks for the girls to believe more will come.
    Glad they enjoyed watermelon. Speaking of chicken poo----watermelon might make the chicken poo even more unsavory to kneel in. Be careful. :)

  11. Your girls sure are funny! I agree with the others that think the girls are watching for bugs. Sorry to had to kneel in chicken poo...but the photos you took are great!

  12. My concern would be bugs under the stucco. Do a careful check to make sure that there are no indications of whatever you need to be concerned about at 7MSN. I don't know how much if any wood you have - I seem to recall concrete floors, but don't know about the rest of the house.


  13. Wow. That's really weird. Worthy post, to be sure.

  14. That's what I was wondering as I saw the pic of Peach staring at the wall. Looking for bugs? I love the sounds chickens make. Maybe a movie about the girls sometime?

  15. LOL! Loved this post! :)

  16. I can attest to the difficulty of photography your hens. I was thinking the same thing - that they might be looking for bugs. Or maybe they're looking for the hidden mechanism that opens the secret door to the 'other side'.

  17. I wonder if ABS might have something there. Maybe the chickens are listening, not looking. Our cat will give you a headache just watching her listen SO intently to moles moving underground.

  18. Fun post. I have 40 plus hens and 3 roosters...the roosters keep the girls busy. It's funny to watch them out run the roosters if they are not "in the mood"!

  19. Perhaps the wall creates a micro-climate? I don't know which direction the wall faces, but maybe that wall is cooler than the others...?

  20. Sounds like someone has been reading "The Help."
    I am a new chicken Mama. (12 of them there little critters, 8 wks old)...are yours free-range or do you have them penned? We live in the country of southern IN and pen ours...
    xo, Cheryl

  21. What in the world would we do without animals and their interesting/weird ways? They probably all got together and decided to stare at the wall just to freak you out ;)

  22. Ha-ha TheresaEH. Loved your TV comment about changing the channel!

    I bet they are mesmerized by the tiny pattern in the stucco and think it might be itty bitty bugs. The one who moves first loses.

    Pretty chickens, Miss Carson!

  23. If your stucco is a manufactured type (Dryvit, or others) then it makes little crackling noises inside when it heats up in the sun. At least that's why the woodpecker goes after my Dad's stucco. Maybe your chickens are listening?

  24. LOL...hardly a day goes by that My Man and I don't say "Well...what do you expect...they're chickens!"

    Definitely agree on trying to get a good photograph...constantly moving. With my point and shoot I use the Action/Sports mode!