Tikka came home from the feed store as a chick a few days old. She was meant as a companion to Betty, who had been relegated to the Ugly Box, much to my softhearted DH’s distress. Because chickens are flock birds and you can’t just have one lonely bird in a box until it’s time to join the flock, he brought Tikka home, too. Then Betty turned out to be Benny so he was rehomed, but Tikka stayed to take up her position as Low Bird on the Totem Pole. As Benny’s companion, she’d become pretty good at running, dodging, and speedy escapes, which came in handy when she was introduced to the larger flock and had to look after herself.
Tikka is a Buff Orpington, which means she looks very much like JoJo and Dorey, my other two Buffies. But the thing that distinguishes her (besides her happy-go-lucky nature and sunny affection) is something I’ve never run into in a hen before.
Tikka climbs trees.
Right from a chick, if she saw something, she’d get up on it. Okay, when Benny-bird wants to chase you, sometimes you have no choice but to jump up on the top of the waterer, where there’s only room for one. But as she grew, she discovered branches. I’d find her in the little oak tree in the pen. Or walking up the bending branches of the oleander. Or sitting happily in the apricot tree, communing with the squirrels. When I offered her an elbow, she’d cheerfully jump down and cuddle on my shoulder, but she’d had her moment of superiority, up there where no one could whack her and where she could throw bits of moss on the other birds with impunity. I swear I heard her giggle.