Margarita has been living in the house and front yard since her stroke a couple months ago. She sleeps in a box in my office at night and plays in a run in the front yard during the day. During the hot portion of the day I bring her in the house where she gets treats like Ritz crackers. She loves to stand in front of the swamp cooler and cool off. She will lay quite contentedly as the air flows over her much like the dogs do. Whenever I walk by she greets me with excited clucks but does not relinquish her cool spot to the dogs! When she gets lonely she finds me (usually in my office) and lays down by my feet, performs her daily feather grooming and just “hangs out” with me.
While Margarita’s loving personality has returned there are still a few residual changes from the stroke. The most notable are vocal “faux pas” – I call them her chicken tourettes. She has taken to trying to crow. She is not good at it. Rooster crowing is bad enough but a malformed and screechy crow is even worse. She is also using some chicken language inappropriately. For instance when I give her a treat she particularly likes she now clucks excitedly using the same vocalization a hen does when she is feeding her chicks. Or a rooster does when he is calling a hen to come eat a tasty bug he found for her. But its not Margarita’s intention to share the treat! When other chickens or chicks come up to get the treat she is advertising she chases them off. I think she just has a wire crossed. Her vocalizations do have a cute side though. She has taken to “calling” me whenever she sees me using the same “come to me” sound a hen uses with her chicks. She will call from her box in the office to have me take her out for the day. And she calls from her run in the yard when she sees me go in and out of the house.
And for those who may be wondering…..Margarita does have a nice pair of chicken diapers to wear in the house. I bought them from a lady back east who makes very high quality ones with very nice material. Margarita’s are black with a paisley type pattern. But she does not like wearing them. She has been very good about “holding it” as long as she can when in the house so I only make her wear the diapers occasionally.