Little Red Hen
lived with the other chickens
in the movable chicken pen
in the garden,
eating grasshoppers,
scratching up the weeds,
spreading fertilizer
until
she started being mean
to her roommates.
She pecked on them
and we had to remove her
from the community.
She’s been ostracized,
living in the barn
in her own private pen.
We let her out in a fenced grassy area
every morning.
Except for being alone,
which may not bother her at all,
she has a good existence
and has become attached to us,
following us around as we do our chores.
She’ll actually follow us
back into her pen in the evening.

The other four chickens
have been enjoying the garden
and the peace and quiet
until
a couple of weeks ago
when
for some unknown reason
after more than a year of chickens
living in the movable pen in the garden,
the dogs,
Joe and Maizy,
pushed the roost over
entered the pen
and killed all four chickens.
They brought my favorite chicken,
Little Speckled Hen,
over to the farmhouse
to show me.
We were horrified
and saddened
and shocked.
They are bird dogs
and we know they’re capable of this;
that’s why we go to such lengths
to protect the chickens.
But as far as we know,
they hadn’t tried to get in the chicken house before.
We’d like to get more hens,
and we’re in a quandry
about how to ensure their safety,
though we know
that may not be possible.

We have one hen now,
Little Red Hen.
She Who Bullies Hens
is the only hen
that has survived.

Isn’t nature interesting?