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Granny Chicken
6 January 2008

Emily Sarah
If you've been visiting our website for awhile now then you've probably already heard plenty about our chickens.  It started with a flock of egg laying hens we saved from the stew pot.  They're still laying eggs, just not as many as they used to.  Next came a flock of hens and roosters from the local Humane Society.  Shortly after that we received a batch of colored Easter chicks that turned out to be all roosters.

Most of our roosters have been dispatched.  There is still a small flock of roosters and hens that we call our "wild chickens" because they hang out in the coffee fields and macadamia nut orchard rather than near the house.  We can thank our dog Kia for that.

Rooster Kia is amazingly well behaved when it comes to the chickens.  Most dogs love to chase chickens.  It's not at all uncommon for a pet dog to happily wipe out an entire flock of chickens just for sport.  To a dog, killing chickens is just a game.  Training a dog to not chase chickens is like training a child to not like candy, it can be done but it certainly isn't easy or natural.

We're lucky because neither of our dogs has ever killed any of our chickens.  Kia loves to chase the wild roosters away but somehow she has learned to ignore our white egg laying chickens.  Unless they're on the porch, then she'll chase them back into the yard.  That's good because chicken poop on the porch is not fun.

There is one chicken Kia will let on the porch:  Granny.  Granny chicken is blind.  I won't go into details other than to say that roosters aren't gentle.  Granny was popular with the roosters and ended up loosing her eyes.  She still stumbles around the farm scratching for bugs but we have to lead her to water and feed her by hand or she'd starve.

Pecking order is very important to chickens and the other hens quickly shunned Granny from the flock.  When we feed Granny we have to keep the other chickens away or they'll chase Granny off and eat all the food.  That's just the way chickens are, weak individuals go to the bottom of the pecking order so the flock stays strong.

Granny wanders around the farm on her own.  Not being able to see means she gets into some odd places.  I've found her inside the barn happily scratching for bugs on the concrete floor.  We've seen her fall off the rock walls several times.  Whenever it rains we have to go find her and carry her back to some place dry.  She has learned that the sound of footsteps usually means food so if she hears you she'll come running.  Hold still and she'll run right into your legs.

Even though she can't see, Granny still seems happy to be a chicken.  Most chickens don't like to let people get too close.  Granny is perfectly happy to be picked up and carried around.  Somehow the dog has sensed this and decided that Granny deserves a little more leeway than the other chickens.  Good dog.

Granny Kia



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