Buffy’s Retreat

There’s still a lot of snow on the ground.

little barn

I’ve shoveled (and re-shoveled!) a space in the pen so that the old hens have a place to stand around outside. I’ve put down sand. I’ve given them logs to stand on. But, as you can tell by Betsy’s careful stepping, it’s still wet and not to their liking.


Buffy is feeling better, she’s eating and drinking and her manure is normal. But she no longer has strength in her legs to stand for more than a minute or two, and there’s no good warm dirt for her to sit in. Also, the snow has shrunk the usable square footage of the pen. In such tight quarters, the hens are sure to go after Buffy again.

But, Buffy doesn’t mind. She is in her cozy retreat home. She can see everyone. They can see her and be jealous of her food (even though they have the exact same pellets in their coop.)


During the middle of the day, Buffy sits on the hay and watches the goings-on in the yard. The rest of her day is spent in the nesting box, sometimes peering out, and sometimes ignoring everyone.


I wish it wasn’t like this. It’s more work for me than I’d like. The bedding requires daily cleaning and the water freezes solid at night. But, it will stay like this for awhile longer. Buffy is quite satisfied with the arrangement.


  1. How old is Buffy now. Such a sweet girl. I have a hen that also doesn’t like getting her feet wet. Walks like Betsy. So funny. Cant wait to see your chick cam. I am going to my first ever poultry show tomorrow. Cant wait to see all the different versions of birds!

  2. That sure was mean for those black chickens to try to poke a hole in buffy’s head. She has a large scab right on top of her face near the beak. You ought to make a pot of chicken dumplings out of which ever hen pecked her like that and feed them to Buffy.

  3. I just adore and feel so empathetic towards elderly animals…whether a dog, cat, parrot or hen! It is labor intensive taking care of our elderly pets yet we learn so much from them. They deserve as much TLC as we can give them!!! Buffy is a sweet, sweet girl!!! :)

  4. Buffy must have read your blog about the Ikea effect! She is lucky she found you.

  5. I am about to embark on my journey into chicken keeping ( if the snow here in central Mass. ever melts enough to build the coop inside an unused dog kennel) and I want to thank you for showing how to treat a beloved pet chicken during her decline, I am learning so much from your blogs, thank you!

  6. I think I have witnessed a touching friendship developing between Twinkydink and Buffy over the last few months, so maybe part of the reason that Twinkydink is hanging about Buffy’s retreat is because she is checking in on her buddy?

  7. Great to see that Buffy is able to flaunt her accommodations in this subtle way, It’s funny that the other girls are worried she has better food than they are getting. Thinking good thoughts for you Buffy.

  8. Old lovely has her own version of a pensioner’s cottage! She is one of the luckiest hens, especially considering her rough begining. Your committment to your animals is inspirational.

  9. I am also starting a small backyard flock in May. Having very little contact with chickens, your HenCam has been so helpful. Your “gems” have got me on a new schedule. I’m up at six watching for the cam to come on to see how they fared through the nite, love watching the progression of egg laying, and watching them settle down to the roost is a must. I’m learning quite a bit about hen behavior watching your cam. Thanks for being generous enough to share. Hope you have a great trip to Austin.

  10. Thank you, Terry, for keeping us updated. Like so many of us, I miss being able to check on Buffy every morning. Glad to hear she’s peaceful in her private accommodations. I’m guessing you’ll move her, in her hutch of course, into the Gems’ yard along with the other old girls as planned, in order to make space for the your new arrivals.(?)

  11. Bless you for your kind devotion. After, she is also one of God’s creatures!