Thursday, February 17, 2011

There's a Monkey in my Hen House.

Sometimes late in the morning while I'm going about my business doing household chores, I am mentally transported to a tropical rain forest.  Even in the winter this happens on occasion.  After three years it still cracks me up to hear the monkey in my hen house.  The jungle sounds aren't coming from a monkey, of course, but from my little Golden Seabright Bantam, affectionately dubbed "Bantam" by my young son when she was no bigger than a river stone.
She is the sweetest little pet we have ever owned and is a family favorite.  It's amazing to hear such a raucous come out of that little mouth of hers as she jaunts around checking on each member of her brood.  Always the mother hen of the bunch, I'm convinced that she would be on the top of the pecking order if it weren't for her minuscule stature.  Even as a tiny chick, we caught her with a fuzzy duckling under each wing, protectively sheltering them against her warm body.  She is still protective of her "chicks" though they are all grown and dwarf her in size.
It is her protective nature and the companionship she feels with this mismatched flock of birds that led us to first discover the tropical bird-like, simian call of Bantam's.  So my son could play with her and let her fly around in a larger space for a bit, we brought her to our screened in potting shed.  After only a few minutes she stood up very tall and let out a call that sent everyone into fits of laughter.  We had no idea until then that our little mini chicken could utter a sound and certainly wasn't expecting to hear the noises that came out of her.  There she stood in a beam of sunlight which turns the black edges of her scalloped feathers to an iridescent teal green, hollering her heart out for her babies.  She didn't stop until we brought a few more of the chickens in to join her. 
Since finding her voice, the monkey chant continues.  I have never been able to find out if she sings after she lays an egg, which she still does almost every day, though she's going on four years old, or if for the sheer joy of making her tiny existence known.  Either way, it always makes me smile to hear the monkey sounds coming from the hen house.

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