Buffy’s Status, Etc.

So many of you have emailed me about Buffy, that I thought I’d fill everyone in on how she’s doing.


Buffy hatched seven years ago this spring. Over the long span of her life she has had a multitude of illnesses, which she rather miraculously recovered from.  But, Buffy can’t beat old age. She’s been ailing for months, and in all honesty, I’m surprised that she’s still alive. What’s even more surprising is that she is still bright-eyed and has her appetite! Can you see in this photo how it looks like her pantaloons are drooping? She’s very weak in the legs, and so cannot get around much. Neither can she roost. When a hen stops roosting, it’s usually a sign that she is going to die within days. Not so, Buffy.

I keep a close eye on her to make sure that she isn’t suffering. I pick her up to judge whether she’s eating. Trust me, Buffy remains hefty! I watch to make sure that she is steady enough on her feet to get around the coop. I observe the interactions with the other hens; no one is bullying her. When it is sunny, I take her outside to sit in a warm patch. I dust her with louse powder so that she isn’t bothered by external parasites. But, mostly, I leave her alone. Buffy has never been an outgoing, friendly hen. Rather, she’s been a placid, calm presence. She’d prefer if I don’t fuss with her. And so I don’t. I don’t expect her to live through the winter. But maybe she’ll surprise me again.

You’ve also asked for a post-blizzrd report. It’s rained. It’s been warm. It’s been freezing. The two feet of dry, light snow that fell during the storm has shrunk, but it has also absorbed the added moisture, and become a dense mass. Some days Scooter can traipse along the top of it, sometimes he falls in and disappears. The shoveled paths are becoming worn. There are days that they’re muddy, and others that they’re slick with ice. The dead-end path on the left is Scooter’s bathroom area, which he only deigns to use when it’s warm and the snow surface can’t hold his weight.


On other news, the Gail Damerow book contest is over, and Ruth won. I’m delighted, because she’ll be sharing it with her 4-H club.

Lastly, you’ll notice that there’s a Tractor Supply ad on this page. In an effort to justify the full-time job that this website has become, I’m trying to earn revenue from it. TS has an affiliate program, so that I’m rewarded if you click through this site and shop there. FYI, the other ads on the page are through Google Adsense. I have no say in what you see, but they also bring in a (very) small bit of income. I appreciate your support!


  1. Thank you for the Buffy update, Terry. She does seem bright and cheerful even tho’ she isn’t roosting. And Twinkiedink is in close attendance!

  2. thanks for the pic ,love the web site. i watch the weather on your site also.

  3. She has no comb? Did the ever? My Buff Orpington isn’t a particularly friendly girl, as a matter of fact she dislikes being.touched so much, that if you do touch her she.lets out.a.shrill similar yo a little girl.screaming, I.don’t know.how this is vocally possible

  4. Thank you for the Buffy update. Watching an old friend grow old is so hard! My heart aches for you both.

  5. what a wonderful picture of my beloved Buffy. What a great update, too. Thank you for both. I know she is very frail and some morning I won’t see her anymore. Thanks for rescuing her from those awful hens that pecked her …. thanks for giving her a happy life. Susan Parker

  6. Thank you for the Buffy update. I am one of those who worry about her, especially after all of your losses in the past year. This is how life goes, but I still don’t like it! Seeing your hens’ elderly stage of life is a good preparation for me.

    My hens are now officially NOT pullets. They are a year old. Yesterday I witnessed a very nasty fight between 2 of them. I was cleaning the coop when the noisy fight started, and I stuck my blue-jeaned leg between them several times, but they were so focussed they just kept going at it, beak to beak. It was scarey. What triggered the fight was, a hen jumped up and broke a hole in my bag of sunflower seed treats. They all spilled and there was a rush to get them amongst the shavings. The hen who lost the fight (which I assume as she stayed in the corner for some time) is the one who lays the largest, most beautiful eggs.

    Also thanks for being straight about the new ads. I always wondered how they worked with website owners.

    • I bet you had your hands full with the spilled bag. Walking between them was the right thing to do, but with that rich food there, I’m sure they didn’t even notice you! Next time, you can pick up one of the hens and move her away. BTW, some websites charge sponsors for ads, and also to blog about the sponsors’ products. I don’t do that. I’m paid for what are called “click-throughs.”

  7. Buffy is a pretty bird! She sure has had a good run. She is blessed to be with you on your loving farm. It warms my heart the way you love your birds! Keep up the good work Terry.

  8. A few weeks ago I noticed that my hen Shelby looked, well like Buffy but she is loosing weight and moving slow. I started looking at her more closly and she is eating, but when she swallowed it would come back up with a thick saliva. Do you think i should put her down?

    • Each situation is different and I can’t tell you what to do. But, I can tell you that hens can suffer at the end. Also, hens don’t vomit, so if fluid is coming out of her mouth, then something very bad is going on inside. I’ve seen that at a sign of peritonitis and also of a blocked intestinal tract. This blog post might help.

  9. Thank you for the update Terry. It will be a sad day when I won’t see her anymore.

  10. I often wonder how Buffy is doing when I dont see her on the camera, she is a lovely old hen and I’m glad she’s still going!

  11. Buffy has the most telling eyes, I think. She looks old and slow…even in still pictures. I love that you put her in the sun to soak up the warmth on nice days. I bet she loves that. I just adore her….and look for her every morning when the camera scans the coop. Sweet Buffy.
    You described the ever changing snow perfectly. And my dog has a very similar bathroom area. The grass will look good in the Spring. ;)

  12. Always fun to come visit here and see what you’re up to. Buffy is a lucky hen to spend her years with you.

    You describe a NE winter perfectly- your description made it all come back to me.

    Hope you come visit my neck of the woods soon – would be fun to catch up in person.

  13. Thank you for the Buffy update. What a lovely photo of my favorite sweet hen. I’m one of those who loves her and checks every day to make sure she’s still there. I too, have noticed that the girls keep an eye on her, but let her have her little corner of the coop. I’m pulling for her to feel the warm sun of spring before she leaves us.

    Buffy is a lucky girl, indeed, to have been saved by you those seven years ago!

  14. I have a roo (Frenchie). He is 7 also. Is a virile as ever although he has old man legs. Looks like he is wearing support stockings. I would miss him very much. He has a strong festive crow.depending on the season, it sounds like Hap py Birth day. Or Mer ry Christ mas or Hap py New year! :-)

  15. Buffy is an inspiration to us all. A question about roosting: I adopted a RIR from one neighbor and two Buff O’s from another. (I think these were yuppies trying to be trendy, who realized hens were really not their thing.) I think these hens never had a roost, because, although they are young and perfectly healthy, they refuse to climb on the roost at night like all their colleagues. They go straight to a nest box. I have been taking them out and putting them on the roost every night for months, and I think they stay there all night, but the next evening, there they are back in the boxes. I guess I don’t really care, except that the boxes get pretty nasty very quickly, which is a pain. Any suggestions for behavior modification? (There are no pecking order issues here, as far as I can tell—lots of roost space.)

  16. Buffy’s laying in the corner of the coop… just in case you get a notification on your phone that I commented or something. If you’re that high tech. :) I didn’t know if that was normal for her or not.

    I think it’s Buffy anyway… :/ I’m not good at remembering who lives in what barn.