The Renegades

Having chickens is so fun.  If you’re getting your eggs from the grocery store, you don’t know what you’re missing.  Take my word for it and don’t ask Vince though!  He might say getting them from the grocery store is a better idea.

These three are the renegades.

You recognize Miss Hattie in the front — the dark red chicken.  She lets herself out each morning.  Each evening I put her back into the coop.  I think the hens all go to sleep listening to Hattie talk about what all she did during the day.  I’m sure glad I can’t understand “chicken”.  It’s kinda like not wanting to know what your teens are talking about.

Then there’s Roscoe.  He was in the coop with the bantams.  Once Thelma turned out to be a rooster, he and Roscoe didn’t get along so Roscoe got booted from the coop and set up housekeeping around the run where the 13 hens spend their days.

See the lighter red chicken in the back?  She’s the pecking chicken.  I let all the chickens out last week and she followed them around pecking them on the back . . for no reason so, she got booted from the big coop.  She sleeps on top of the ramp that leads from the coop to the run and she seems happy enough running around with Roscoe and Miss Hattie.  Roscoe has no interest in her . . he only has eyes for Miss Hattie.

Miss Hattie had been laying her eggs under the ramp.

Way up under there where the ramp meets the ground.  I had to use a piece of PVC pipe to rake the eggs out.  Looks like it might’ve once been a piece of one of Vince’s homemade faucets.

The light red hen is still laying her eggs there.  But Miss Hattie had stopped.  I didn’t have a clue where she was laying them.  I had tried to watch to see where she often went, I looked everywhere I thought she might have been laying them and had decided that she was such a smart chicken (NOT) that she was probably laying them in the coop each morning before sneaking out.  I began counting those eggs and was usually getting 10 eggs which means of the 11 chickens left in there, one was not laying and Miss Hattie surely wasn’t laying in there.

Saturday Vince and I were sitting in the house and heard the most awful commotion . . chickens squawking and screeching.  We went running out and Miss Hattie and the light red hen were having a serious and quite hostile discussion.  I told Vince it looked like two mad shoppers fighting for a parking spot at Wal-Mart!

Vince asked if I thought one of them might have a nest around there and we got to looking and Miss Hattie had shaped herself a little nest in the rocks behind a bunch of boxes and in it were 9 eggs.  No way!  I don’t even think her eggs are fertile because every time Roscoe gets romantic, since he’s a mini-chicken and she’s a full size chicken, she just shakes him off.  She hasn’t been setting on the nest but she might have been getting ready to start.  We took the eggs and threw them out because, even though it’s been cool outside, I have no idea how long they’ve been there . . probably 9 days and it was cool enough they would have been ok but there’s no reason to take a chance.

Since she seems determined to lay her eggs there, Vince took a cardboard box lid and filled it with wood shavings and put it back there behind the boxes so she could lay her eggs in there but . . no, that’s not what she had in mind.

See her little box of shavings there?  Nice and comfy!  See her past the box?  On the rocks?  Here’s a zoomed in shot.

There she sits.  I guess we’ll just leave her alone and see what happens.  When I looked yesterday, there were two eggs in there.  Probably one from her and one from the other chicken.

It so happens that the new Mother Earth News that arrived yesterday has an article on broody hens and has instructions for building a brooder box.

At lunch yesterday, Vince and I had this conversation:

Vince:  We’ll just let her set there and see what happens.
Me:  No!  Something might get her.  She’s my favorite chicken!
Vince:  What do you want me to do?  (so glad he asked!)
Me:  It just so happens, the new Mother Earth News has an article . .

And, Vince left to go back to work .  .

In the pickup, which he never drives to town any more, because he has to go by the lumber yard and get the makings for a brooder box.

As he drove out of sight, I heard him exclaim . . The chicken population around here is getting out of hand!  🙂


  1. 1


    ROFLOL!!!! Next thing you know – ALL the chickens will be wanting their own houses! I think Miss Hattie and New Red Miss have started a new tradition! Grow up, move out (and be persistent about it) and Vince will build you a new house! ROFLOL

  2. 4

    Bobbie Whittington says

    I love reading about your chickens. I was born and raised in the city so it is all pretty interesting to me. 🙂

  3. 5

    Beverley Tekben says

    I never knew chickens could be such fun. Every morning I check your blog to read the latest adventure.

  4. 6

    Trish says

    Thanks so much for this posting, Mom and I have had such a laugh about it! What a great way to start the day!!

  5. 9

    Sandy says

    My parents had chickens when I was in early elementary school, but I don’t remember them having names or any adventures the way yours do! They were being raised so we could eat them! We also had ducks, a cow, and a goat. The goat had a name—Buttercup!

  6. 15

    Tam says

    Judy, I hope you’re saving all these chicken essays to include in a book one day! So entertaining–and educational–for this city girl. Those renegades are three smart chooks! If you ever put them in the freezer, please don’t tell us.

  7. 16

    Dawn-Marie says

    I was researching keeping chickens safe in the winter becasue( I live in Maine and two my husband finally broke down and said I could get some in April) The site I was on said that they hang a head of cabbage in the winter for a few reasons. One it gives them greens to it entertains them and three which I thought you would find interesting it stops them from pecking each other.

  8. 17

    Nancy Angerer says

    Love your stories of the events in your lives and especially the stories of Roscoe and Miss Hattie. Found myself telling family who was here for Thanksgiving all about those two:)

  9. 18

    Sally H says

    Do you know how to check eggs to see if they are good? Put them in a flat-bottomed vessel (pot) and cover them with an inch of water (like you would if you were hard boiling them.) If they are good they will stay laying on their sides. If they are bad/old the rounded ends will float up off the bottom. The more vertical the egg gets, the older it is. All this is because the air sack that the developing chick uses is in the rounded end. As an egg ages it looses water in the white and gains air in the air sack. Any eggs you are unsure of can be hard boiled and fed to whichever critter is in most need of protein. I’d go with either that pecking hen (who is either just aggressive or who is looking for more protein in her diet) or the new chicks.