Ester came from a feed store at just a few days old. She is an Americana and lays light blueish/green eggs. Now most critters around here are family pets, but this pretty girl has the grand distinction of belonging the oldest country kid. I dear say she started his deep affection towards birds. While we had chickens before her, and have added chickens since, the fact that she holds a special place in his heart sets her apart.
From the day we brought her home, he has doted on her......
|The oldest country kid spent hours watching over her in the brooder.|
The special bond between bird and boy has filled Ester's life with love and adventure. She was the first of any of our girls to get to go to the county fair. Can you imagine the tales she told upon returning to the coop! The oldest country kid (who is now 10) continues to give her snuggles whenever he can.
While Ester is a very sweet bird, she is rather shy. When I tried to do a photo shoot once, she was less them cooperative when the camera came out! Have you ever been beat by chicken wings in the face? I don't recommend it. But it really did make a hilarious photo!
Ester, shy as she may be, is an amazingly kind bird to her fellow flock. Our first drake, Fred, had a "thing" for her. She would run in terror every time he tried to woo her. She would jump up on me to get away from him! But than one day, Fred's mate, Ginger, was taken by a predator and he fell into the deepest depression I have ever seen any animal in. It was heart breaking to watch him wander the yard alone. And do you know what happened?
Ester took it upon herself to be his friend! That's right, instead of running from his advances (which he no longer made after loosing his mate) she spent weeks by his side forging for bugs or just taking naps. And trust me, that took courage or a lack of smell because he was so depressed he didn't bath for the longest time and was such a stinky duck! The way she comforted him made me look at the social lives of critters in a whole new light. After awhile, we managed to get a new female duck and Fred finally got out of his funk. Ester and Fred parted ways, no longer spending every second together, but I know those two had a special bond till his last day.
Being a chicken includes molting (kind of like a dog shedding) and when Ester molts, she MOLTS!!! The first time she molted I thought a predator had gotten her as there was just a big pile of feathers in the yard. I now know that when she molts, she does it hard and fast. She explodes feathers everywhere!
She has bald patches everywhere when she molts and I looks horrible as she grows in new feathers. When she is molting we don't handler her because she is rather sensitive and painful during this process. She also tends to hid in the bushes during her molt. It makes me giggle because she reminds me of a teenage girl with a zit on her nose, not wanting the world to see her at her worst.
|Hanging out in the hospital pen in the house. She was not amused.|
Ester holds the distinction at our homestead for scaring the crap out me recently when she prolapsed her vent. I don't know which panicked me more, seeing her inners out of her or the fact we might loose her and the devastation the oldest country kid would feel if we did. Let me tell ya, I was feeling the pressure to fix her up and save her. I am proud to say she is right as rain now and has even laid eggs since with no issue. But talk about the pressure..... I am so glad we didn't loose her for everyone's sake.
Ester had always been Grumpy Goldie's (our recently departed alpha hen in the middle) right hand (wing) woman. They were inseparable, sharing treats and taking noon naps together in the shade of their favorite bush. With Goldie gone, she and Buff tend to wander the yard in separate directions. Like I said, Ester is a shy, kind girl and Buffy can be a little pushy.
With the addition of new chicks this spring, I am hoping Ester can find a new BFF. She has begun to take notice as the chicks grow and can more often than not be seen in the general vicinity of them. Of course they did kind of take over her favorite bush, so it may just be she not willing to give up her favorite spot. Only time will tell......
There is just something about those puffy cheeks that always make me smile, and I enjoy her calm, laid back approach to life. She is never pushy for treats or attention, unlike some hens (aka Buffy.) I doubt she will ever fill the role of alpha hen in our flock and she seems more then happy to not have that responsibility. I think she just plans to live the rest of her days quietly under her favorite bush, watching the world change and stepping in to be an amazing friend to those who might need her, like the oldest country kid.