As promised, today’s Profile in Silliness is of Alice Featherlegs, one of our two Salmon Faverolles. Named after another character in Esther Averill’s Cat Club books because Faverolles do indeed have feathers on their legs, Alice has always had a lot to say. As a chick she would perch on the edge of the brooder and peep away, looking at me very
earnestly. Now she follows me around as I do my chores, clucking and chirbling; sometimes she’ll come sailing across the yard to tell me something. If it’s especially important, she’ll ask to be picked up or will hop up onto my lap before telling me. Sometimes she’ll preen me in the midst of the discussion. She will definitely be my co-author on the first human-chicken translation dictionary and will be in charge of my look for the jacket photo. Alice has also taken it upon herself to be in charge of DS, thereby assuming the mantle of Messenger, a hen from our first flock who adopted DS when he was 5 months old and loyally protected him until she died at the age of 3 1/2. Once when the girls were still chicks, DS and I were hanging out with them when DS decided to run upstairs to get something. As soon as he left the room she started distress peeping and didn’t take her eyes off the door until he returned. When he did, she hopped over to him and
greeted him effusively. Since then, whenever we are all out together she will stick close to DS, talking the whole time and generally keeping an eye on his activities. She also knows that he is an excellent worm finder and that if she shadows him, she gets first pick of the tastiness. Babysitting has its privileges. Sweet as Alice is, she can be a tough one when she needs to be. Several times now she has gone broody, i.e., has gone into the hormonal state where she wants to sit on and hatch a clutch of eggs. Faverolles are known for going broody easily, and Alice has done so about three times in the past 6 months. All of the hens make pteranodon noises when they’re laying, but when Alice has decided that she is parking herself on a nest for the duration the growls and screeches hit
quetzalcoatlus levels. Some day, hopefully, we’ll have a chance to let her hatch some chicks; she will be the ultimate Tiger Mom (though not in a self-esteem crushing way, of course). And I am sure she will happily tell those chicks all about the world, ensuring that we have another generation of expert chicken explainers.