Bernie: The Chicken Who Walks Her Own Path

Of all the chickens that have come and gone through our homestead this past year the one that stands out is Bernie. She looks nothing like the “sisters” she came with when we got them just hatched last spring.

She is the one with the little white spot on her head….she looked like Bernie Sanders, and that is how the name came to be. Hahahaha….hilarious we are. The spot went away as she grew up.

As they grew, I noticed she was a bit different.

She’s hiding at the top, under the white bird.

As she grew, she became a bold chicken.

She matched one of the roosters though. He was a beautiful but really mean rooster, and he went to the Great Rooster Acres In The Sky.

She was the rooster’s favorite. But once gone, she filled the void and took over as Queen Bee. She is a dominant hen, even though she isn’t a big bird. She was the one who bullied V, the white dwarf hen – to the point where we had to make a run and coop just for V, so she could recover. She still gets in a mood and will try to go beat V up if she can.

She always seemed ahead of the other hens. She was first to lay eggs, and she went broody in late summer/early fall. After 5 weeks of it not stopping, I asked my neighbor for a couple fertilized eggs, and she happily gave them to us. Slipped them under her….and 21 days or so later? She’d about stab you if you tried to touch her.

Someone had baby chicks! And poofier than a mad cat……

She raised the 2 chicks perfectly, and was a very attentive mother. And it snapped her going broody. Finally. After 8 weeks she finally took a dirt bath (she had gotten pretty gross to where I had to coat her in DE to get rid of bugs…yuck).

We lost one of the babies around 4 weeks old, most likely to a hawk. But the other one stayed close to mama, and she protected it (we believe he is a rooster, and a late bloomer, he is now 14 or so weeks old, but has yet to crow).

Bernie happy being allowed in a grow area none of the other birds are allowed into.

Now though? She is back to being Queen Bee. She waits by the gate to be let out of the main run. Most days we let her free range all day. She will walk up 2 acres to the house to let us know she wants to go home. None of the other hens do this.

She really loves her freedom, to peck and scratch and just run. And she knows how to ask for it. It often feels this particular chicken just is a bit smarter than the rest! She follows humans, and watches them.

She is also one of Walker’s favorite chickens. And she tolerates him.

A boy and his chicken, no? But she waits for him, to pick her up and be walked around with. Or to be let out.