We don’t give our chickens names as a rule. The cockerel is called Billy (after a vulgar expression implying that he’s more noise than action), and the senior hen is called Cromwell because she has a growth on her beak that looks like a wart. But now, albeit temporarily, we have a new name – Purple Hen.
It’s pretty obvious from the picture why she’s called Purple Hen. I mentioned in an earlier blog entry that the two small flocks had integrated pretty well, with only one real incident. Purple Hen was the senior hen of the younger “garden flock”. In the integrated flock, she wasn’t even second in command to Cromwell. She picked a fight with one of the established allotment flock and came off worst. And of course at that point several other hens began to peck at her wounded head and neck, so that we had to rescue her and treat her with antiseptic anti-peck spray.
But what is extraordinary that she’s become our special friend. Ixworths are by and large a bit thuggish. Not the sort of birds that welcome a cuddle, certainly not half as much as they’ll welcome a cabbage. Purple Hen is now happy to be picked up and will peck corn from our hands, or, as in the picture, peck at an apple. How long this behaviour will last is anyone’s guess, but we’re quite enjoying having a pet chicken.