Nugget was born on November 3, 2009. Her mother was a Buff Orpington and her father a Blue Marans Cuckoo. We subsequently gave away all of her clutch mates except two. Over the next couple of years her sisters were both killed by predators and Nugget remained a solitary backyard chicken for a while. In the spring of 2012 I participated in the now infamous Turlock Hen Rescue where over 4,000 hens were saved in the largest rescue of farmed animals in California history, but sadly about 50,000 died. As soon as the rescued hens became eligible for adoption I adopted 3 and introduced them to Nugget. Nugget was unsure what to make of the new hens but gradually got used to them and soon assumed her place at the top of the pecking order.
The hens have a large fully fence-in backyard that is kept in a rather natural organic state. This does exposed them somewhat to predators. As the leader Nugget will send out the alert if a potential predator is detected. If one or more of the hens is unaccounted for long she will call to them. She still sometimes needs some privacy and will often, but not always, roost some distance from the other hens who cluster together. She remains aware that she is different from the others. Her feathers absorb water because of her breed so she avoids getting wet. As the other hens forage in the rain, Nugget will find a dry spot just to roost and observe.
Nugget is not shy. She will jump on your lap to steal your strawberries or take a bite of your sandwich if she feels she can get away with it. It you want to pick her up she will huddle down and extend her shoulders so you can lift her in a way that is comfortable for her. She enjoys being held and is quite talkative. The kids, especially my 17 year old daughter, love Nugget.
Once she was missing for many days and my daughter was grief stricken that Nugget could not be found. We assumed the worst as each day passed and Nugget was not safely locked up in the coop each night. Everyone was elated when Nugget was discovered gazing out of taillight hole of an old Volkswagen bus. She had found a safe nesting spot in the empty engine compartment where she could watch the world go by while safe from predators.
Nugget is a most beloved pet who has been a member of the family for nearly 3 ½ years now.