I continue to have high hopes that we will someday be able to reintegrate her into the flock. They all free range together in the yard and Etta, which J. has affectionately nicknamed her, tries to be part of the flock but is skittish if one of the more aggressive hens comes towards her. In fact, it sends her skittering under our feet or chairs. But they seem to be warming up to her.
I read somewhere that chickens will accept an outsider if they wake up and they're just there. A little over a month ago, I put on my ninja outfit, snuck in the coop and placed Etta onto the roost after the girls had gone to bed. All seemed well the following morning when I checked on them. But then I returned home after work to find Etta cowering in one of the nesting boxes. She had obviously been pecked again and that was the only place she could find to take refuge from the bully. I felt terrible.
So Etta continues to live out her happy little life in her own deluxe apartment. She sweetly clucks away and "talks" to us when we feed her and let her out with the other girls. She loves to follow J. around the yard as if he is the pied piper of chickens or something. Her feathers have grown back in now, albeit with an interesting change: where she was pecked on her neck, the tips of the black feathers are now white. It's like those women who have dark hair but develop one wide swoop of white or grey acrosss their brow. When I talk to Etta (doesn't everyone talk to their chickens?), I tell her that it makes her look distinguished.
I suppose I should get to the point of this post. Etta hasn't laid an egg since the incident, so both J. and I were pleasantly surprised when I looked over at her pen on Sunday and said "Is that what I think that is?" Upon closer inspection, I yelled "It's an egg!" Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera anywhere nearby.
My little girl is laying again! I am beaming like a proud parent at my kid's first dance recital. Just the idea that she is healed and happy enough to have given us this present makes me smile.
I hope you find many reasons to smile today!