Tilly, the Australorp, is our head hen. As a day old chick, she was the largest and the smartest. She was also one of the hardiest girls. Today, she is not the biggest, but she definitely rules the roost. She has a very sweet nature about her. She loves to be held and will even nestle into your neckline between your shoulder and your ear. I love it when they do that!
She also loves to talk. It seems as though she is constantly talking. In fact, I recognize her voice from the other hens and often talk to her when I am on the other side of the yard. She has a very low sweet song that she sings. The chorus is always the same and she mixes up the verses. She is especially talkative as she lays her eggs. From the coop, she provides all those around with a play by play account of the entire process. I try my best to talk chicken back to her. She cocks her head from side to side like a puppy. Her wattles swing back and forth. O, how I do wish we truly could understand each other.
She is obedient. She recognizes me as the chicken mom. When I need to pick her up, she never runs away from me. She may not feel like going in, but always remains calm in my arms. She understands the hierarchy. She also knows that when I am not around, she is in charge. She rules a tight ship. She constantly ensure that everyone is in line and knows that she is the boss. I imagine it must get tiring for her. Though, she seems to love it. As she is the boss, she always gets first dibs at the treats. I purposefully scatter treats over the entire run, but she always gets the prime pieces. If someone else has something that she wants, she gets it and typically without much of a squabble.
Finally, I find that she is the one that everyone wants to sleep next to at night. Usually, she is sandwiched between the two Buff Orpingtons. She tells the flock when it is time to roost. However, the most interesting thing that I read and can tell you to be true of Tilly, is that when she free-ranges, she never ventures too far from the coop. Apparently, Australorps don’t like to be too far from home. As the head hen, the girls follow Tilly’s lead. This is very nice as I never have to look to far to find them.
Photo credit: Tilly’s Nest