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.
22 thoughts on “Our Grande Dame Chicken Rosie”
You’ve just cheered my day immensely with such a nice story.
The chickens constantly cheer my day.. I just went out to check the laying boxes, kicked out the broody hen, and let them out to free range in the yard.. standing there with a warm egg in my hand, watching them peck at the grass and the broody was somewhat obsessively dust bathing next to the nasturtium.. I thought.. this is happiness. :) Then I thought I should reply to your comment with exactly that, returned inside, sat down, and heard the broody go running across the yard making her weird broody noises once she realised the flock had moved on to the leaf pile without her.. and then I was laughing out loud.
I wish you could have chooks on your balcony. :)
Oh hunny. I was feeling annoyed at the world this am (Long story) but I read this and I love love love the story. How lovely. I can hear the noise chickens make and god I miss my hens,. I also love talking to chickens and have long talks with them when I can. I am going to work with a smile, Thank you xoxo
Thanks Yvonne.. I hope today is a more happy moment for you. :)
I love your chook stories. Rosie is a sweetheart. I used to love petting the chickens and gathering the eggs at my grandparents’ farm.
She is such a wonderful chook Zazzy, I am so glad I went to the chook auction that day. :)
Such a sweet story.
Sad at the beginning though, with a chook who doesn’t know how to be a chook. She’s learning fast though it seems.
One of the surprising things I learned when first getting into chooks is how some of the show chooks are kept. I personally would struggle with that as a concept myself. There are some great people out there who let the chooks be chooks 95% of the time, and they have to work a lot harder when it comes to getting them ready for a show because chooks love to dust bathe and that is always a dirty time.. :) So when you go to wash them, add dirt to water and you get a muddy chook!
I struggle a little myself because the girls constantly kick dirt up into the air and it lands in their drinking water.. me I like them to have crystal clear water but if I constantly replaced their dusty water I’d have a huge water bill. I have to resist the urge to change it every single time I go out there. I limit myself to twice a week max now. :)
This is charming and I’m now in love with Rosie. My husband Jerry has always wanted to have chickens (he grew up on farms). Not easy to do here in an apartment on the beach (I’m thankful)!
Rosie is in such great condition at the moment, I must get out to take some better photos of her with the proper camera. Her feathers are sleek and shiny and they have that purple and green iridescence. :)
Wow, what a beautiful bird!
She has an almost regal bearing at times, especially the way she holds her tail.. all she needs is a tiny glittering tiara on her Rosecomb.. :)
Such a pretty girl!
She certainly is pretty. I wish I could get the camera to capture her feather iridescence! ;)
Chooks are such quirky creatures. I also get great delight watching and observing our chooks’ and their antics. Rosie sounds like a delightful chicken who has definitely won your heart! Carolyn @ Pastimes-Passions-Paraphernalia.org
I had no idea how fascinating they would be.. sometimes I can be out there for a good couple of hours just watching them *be* :)
Such a fun story! Animals all have unique personalities don’t they? TFS!
They do, Amy. Chooks also can change personalities as a surprise when they get an idea in their head.. – I have a post coming up about that.. :)
She is truly something special. So glad she joined your flock. Thank you for being a part of The Maple Hill Hop this week!
I was lucky to find her, she really spoke to me when I was looking at chooks at the auction. She has a lot of personality. :)
I loved this story. I could read about your chooks all day long.
I’m trying to put in a chook story once each month, going forward. :) It isn’t difficult because they have so much going on out there.. ;)