Rosie Rosecomb is the sister of a prize winning show chicken. When we first got her, she knew nothing about being a chicken. If I had to guess, I would guess she spent her previous life in a small enclosure with sawdust on the ground and a small amount of food and water available. She certainly had not lived in a flock situation before.
You might be able to spot it in the photo – her nails were incredibly long and so was her beak. There was the terrible time I tried to cut her nails – following the correct instructions – which resulted in a bit of a disaster as it was very difficult to spot the quick in Rosie’s nails..
Thank the deities for the internet, where I discovered step number 3. Lucky I had some corn starch handy! That was the one and only time I ever trimmed her nails – soon she was keeping them the right length on her own. The beak is also now kept to the correct length without any assistance from me. Amazing what happens when a chook can be a chook!
When Rosie arrived here, she quickly took up her place at the very bottom of the pecking order. She did not mind being there. She was just happy to be a part of the flock. And so the process of learning how to be a chicken began.
She started out by watching the other chooks. The first truly chicken-like thing she did was learning how to dust bathe. Chooks prefer dirt to any other ground surface, it is a fact. If you give them a grassy enclosure, they will not be truly happy until all the grass is gone.
Rosie took her time mastering the dust bath. She much prefers it to the *other* kind of bath she was used to, which would have been the water bath with soap and probably a hair dryer, to get ready for shows. Rosie does not enjoy water – she is always the first one to take cover when it rains and the last one to walk into a puddle on the ground looking for bugs.
When Redcomb was nearly taken by a hawk, Rosie was nearby to her. We are very lucky the hawk did not grab Rosie because everything I know about her personality tells me that she would not have put up a fight like Redcomb did. At that moment, Rosie became the look out chook. When any kind of bird appears in the sky, Rosie squawks up a storm.
Rosie was already a very talkative chicken – whenever I would see her, she would be making this little bup-bup-bup-bup noise. You can bup-bup-bup back to her, and hold a real bup-bup conversation. I have no idea what she is trying to say to me, but I always enjoy our conversations.
After Redcomb was lowered in the pecking order due to being injured, the two of them became very close friends for a while. They went everywhere together. They had happy bup-bup chats. They shared treats. Rosie would keep the look out while Redcomb explored the garden, looking for bugs. They are still friends, though not quite as close. Rosie made a couple of new friends once the Pekins arrived.
It was apparent to the Pekins that Rosie is a Grande Dame chicken. They took Rosie into their confidence and accepted her as an equal, even though she is considerably smaller than they are. This could be partly due to the fact that the three game hens look alike, and Rosie has black feathers like Lizzie does.
Rosie eventually stepped up to third in the pecking order with the three game hens at the bottom. This does not mean a lot to her general lifestyle, though it does mean she will take a treat and hold her ground if one of the Pekins tries to steal it from her. Rosie does not peck at those below her. She is not that kind of girl.
Rosie is always the first one to put herself to bed at night. She has laid one egg in her lifetime that we are certain of. It was the size of a pigeon egg. She is a very small chook so this was not surprising.
She always loves to tell the world one of the other girls is in the nest laying an egg. She is a lovely chook and I paid $10 for her, so she was also quite a bargain. She was worth every cent and then some. Watching her learn to be a chicken while I was learning about chickens has been an amazing experience.
I hope to have many more years of bup-bup conversation with this particular Grand Dame.