Appalachia Chickens

The Chicken Momma Adopted a Hen

black hen

About rwo months ago a friend called to say they were awakened in the night by some sort of scuffle going on outside on the their deck. When they went to investigate they found the dogs had cornered something on the porch. Thinking the animal had already been killed by the dogs they went back to bed.

The next morning they noticed a bunch of feathers on the deck and remembered the night time incident.

On further investigation they found the dogs had not finished the kill.

A small chicken, with most of its feathers missing and a few puncture wounds in one of its thighs was hiding between a bucket and the house.

They called to see if Chitter wanted to come get the chicken and doctor it.

Before evening Chitter had a chicken hospital set up under the porch.

She tried adding the injured hen in with the rest of the brood, but if you’ve ever been around chickens you know that didn’t work.

Chickens can be downright mean. And if they notice one of their fellow flock is not well they attack…all at once.

Chitter set up Ruby Sue’s old kennel under the porch, got the hen situated, and then started to access the damage done by the dogs.

She used peroxide, my Mary Kay cream 🙂 and coconut oil on the wounds for the next several days.

Chitter quickly fell in love and named the pretty little black hen Clover. She fed her treats of beetles from the garden throughout the day and brought her tidbits of food from our kitchen to go along with her chicken feed.

Clover stayed under the porch until she completely healed and was no longer limping. I was surprised at how quickly her feathers grew back.

Then came the big day of putting her in with the rest of the flock. Things didn’t go so well.

I thought it would be our old hens Worm Girl and Junuluska Girl that objected to Clover being turned loose in their lot. It wasn’t, it was Chitter’s babies. They harassed Clover until Chitter put her back under the porch.

Chitter finally decided to put Clover’s cage inside the lot. That way the other chickens could get used to her without her being loose where they could attack.

Over the course of two weeks Chitter let Clover out into the big pen for a little while and then put her back in her cage when things got rough on her.

Finally Chitter turned Clover loose in the big pen without too much of an uproar. They’re all still picking on her, but things have settled down for the most part.

We’ve all developed a soft spot for Clover. Chitter picks her—you guessed it 4-leaf clovers to eat along with the special treats of garden pests and I try to save a few choice kitchen scraps for her too.

We’re all rooting for Clover to get over her timidness and strike back at the babies who mostly act like gremlins 🙂


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  • Reply
    August 13, 2020 at 8:38 am

    I’m so glad the little hen recovered under her doctor’s able and loving care!
    Chickens can be the very devil when it comes to accepting newcomers…I’ve about given up on adding new birds to a flock unless I can keep the new and old birds separate forever if need be. I hope Clover will be able to stick up for herself more, but meanwhile she’s lucky to have Chitter on her side!

  • Reply
    Glenda C. Beall
    August 12, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Beautiful story about a caring and loving person. In these dark days we need more stories of love and humanity, caring and compassion. I am so happy you wrote this, Tipper, and I love the way your girls have grown up into sweet and caring young women.

    • Reply
      Wazz Wallaby
      August 13, 2020 at 1:40 am

      Hi Tipper, writing to you from Sydney, Australia. Came across the 2011 story n vid of singing in the church at Cataloochee (spelling?!) Sites like yours are the real gold of the internet! Keep on doing what you are doing, we all enjoy it.

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    August 12, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Your girls give me hope! Clover landed in a bed of…

  • Reply
    August 12, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    I’m not a chicken , …If I was one,I would be ever so thankful for the love and care Chitter was there to give…. so glad the dogs didn’t finish the job, and hope Clover will soon stand her ground , or that the youngers will soon find they like their new pen mate.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2020 at 11:45 am

    She took good care of her. I love the name she gave her.( Clover) perfect. Good going Chitter.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2020 at 11:13 am

    I love this beautiful story about Chitter giving this small creature a chance to thrive. Clover may get away from being so timid, but sometimes it takes her having her own little ones to protect. I hope Chitter never changes, because loving caring people like Chitter make everything around them better.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 12, 2020 at 11:04 am

    Chitter makes a Good doctor for Chickens. When I was growing up we had about 75 Chickens and the Fiests Protected them. The dogs were forever combing the yard and other places, looking for Snakes and other varmints. I don’t know if the dogs knew if the Chickens laid eggs for us, but they wouldn’t bother them for nothing.

    One time a Hugh Black Snake got to a Setting Hen and swallowed her Whole. The commotion woke up the dogs and they treed that thing way up under the House. Daddy made the dogs get back and under the floor he went. In just a minute, he came back out dragging a Black Snake longer than a Hoe Handle, minus the Snake’s Head. Daddy quickly Took His Pocket Knife and Cut the snake open, but he was too late. He gave the Snake and Chicken to the Fiests, and they cleaned everything up. …Ken

  • Reply
    August 12, 2020 at 10:07 am

    She’s a pretty chicken.

  • Reply
    Barbara Parker
    August 12, 2020 at 9:55 am

    I’ve had a few chickens that I got attached to. Chickens have feelings too and will follow and trust you if they are given the chance to get used to you. Chitter sounds so kind and loving. I’m glad she gave Clover another chance at life and I hope things continue to do good for that sweet hen.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2020 at 9:09 am

    Clover should be called “Lucky” or “Blessed” because she truly was to be cared for by Chitter! Good job, Chitter! I was around my grandmother’s chickens when I was a young kid, but I had no tender feelings for them as I viewed them as Sunday dinner. But I was a great nurse to a puppy or kitten:)

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    August 12, 2020 at 8:51 am

    I’m highly impressed with Chitter and her kind ways! She’s definitely got natural doctoring and compassion in her soul and it shines forth for all to see! She’s a great chicken woman and I think she speaks and understands chickens and they love her back like she does them! I’m so glad CLOVER made it and has become a real beauty! God bless all of you! And that Chitter has a special place in my heart as her winning ways have won me over! She’s the light that lights up the darkness! She’s beautiful on the outside but even lovelier inside! Winner winner- Chicken dinner!!! ???

  • Reply
    gayle larson
    August 12, 2020 at 8:33 am

    As a child I was always bringing something home that needed help. Baby birds were my specialty. I never had a chicken but I did have a duck once. It was always a great day when they were healed and could be released. It was also a sad day when we had to have a funeral in the back yard. Had a few of those also.

  • Reply
    Sanford Mckinney, Jr.
    August 12, 2020 at 8:32 am

    We once had a hen that we named “Bunnie” because her tail feathers did not grow upward. That was because when she was just a baby chick, my baby sister dropped a piece of gum out of her mouth on “Bunnie’s” tail feathers. My Mother cut the feathers to remove the gum and must have accidently clipped the skin; thus the deformed tail feathers. My baby sister taught “Bunnie” to sing on the command of “Sing Bunnie sing! Probably, if you aren’t from the country, you have never heard chicken “singing”.
    Another strange thing about “Bunnie” was that she would come into the house and lay her daily egg if she could find an open window or door. Wonder if anyone else has a story of a “trained” chicken?

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 12, 2020 at 8:22 am

    Hmmm maybe that’s Chicken Doctor? If Chitter is ever around hatching ducklings, look out. They imprint on the first moving thing they see and consider it their Momma.

    Clover is a handsome (or pretty) bird. Looks like she has coppery or gold feathers mixed in the black. Wonder what kind she is.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    August 12, 2020 at 7:45 am

    Chitter is a good doctor for Clover and that was a good idea to place the kennel in the chicken pen. Now, if Clover had to depend on me to find 4-leaf clovers for her greens, she would starve. Never could find those things.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 12, 2020 at 6:46 am

    I have been amazed to see how well Clover has gotten. She looked pretty crippled up for a while but Chitter persisted in nursing her and now I see no sign that she was ever injured. She is a beautiful healthy girl now.
    Her recovery is 100% because of the care Chitter gave her…that’s pretty amazing!
    You go girl, both girls!

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