The Unassuming Hen

When you have only three or five or seven hens, each one stands out as a distinct personality. That’s not as true in a larger flock. My two Rhode Island Reds, Garnet and Ruby, look identical. They even act the same, although when free-ranging I can sometimes identify Garnet because she and Jasper seem to enjoy each others’ company and roam together. But not always. I put a blue band on Garnet’s leg so that I could tell the RIRs apart.

In a larger flock like the group of Gems, some hens make their presence known. When I open the door in the morning, Etheldred leaps up with hungry enthusiasm. This is despite the fact that I never feed them as I step in – specifically to dissuade the bad habit of crowding and pecking. Some hens, like Jasper, are friendly and curious and are usually underfoot. Some hens, like Florence, are aloof.

Then there’s the unassuming hen, the one that you don’t notice. The one that goes about her business, never bossy, but not timid either. This hen flies under the radar. (Pun intended. You’re welcome.) I take photos of my hens almost daily, and yet when I looked through iPhoto to find a photo of Onyx I had to go back to December 2012 to find one.


She’s a beautiful Barnevelder. And yet she is easily ignored.

But, not by Siouxsie. Siouxsie, despite all of her cluelessness, recognizes that Onyx is unperturbable (not a real word, but so applicable here.) Siouxsie has decided that Onyx will be her friend.

The Gems are a tolerant and peaceful group. Having Siouxsie in their midst has tried all of their patience, but none so much as Onyx. Once in awhile she rolls her eyes at the annoying pouf-head that is following her around.

dust bath

But, otherwise, she puts up with her new shadow. I’ve undervalued this unassuming hen. What a good girl she is.


  1. Really good and beautiful. I love her feathers. Always gorgeous.

  2. Siouxsie makes me smile!! You can tell by the look on Onyx’s face she would rather be bathing alone :-) But bless her because everyone needs a friend.

  3. I tend to not notice my My silver laced wynadottes or my mottled houdan
    its like with the black and white they just blend into the background

  4. Onyx has always been one of my faves because of her beautiful feathers.

  5. I’m glad Onyx allows Siouxsie to hang. Everyone needs a buddy. Good girl, Onyx.

  6. Haha. What a sweetheart. I have to admit, I chuckled quite a bit when I read that line, “rolls her eyes at the annoying pouf-head.”

  7. That look in Onyx’s eye says it all. It’s Siouxsie’s world and we are just living in it =)

  8. Onyx is the type of chicken I want my whole flock to be like. Jasper and Pearl also. I got my chicks today and sure enough Terry, you were right, my RIR’s are pushing everyone else around. Otherwise I was just excited to get them. I love this new chicken world…….Thanks Terry for helping me and all other “newbies” to this world. Onyx is definitely a beauty!

  9. Oh my gosh – the look in Onyx’s eye! Indeed, she is a tolerant and ‘unpurturbable’ hen… and she’s gorgeous! I have Barnevelder on the list for my future flock. I can’t wait!

  10. Love the last picture!
    My Polish hens, Laverne and Shirley, are characters, also!
    Laverne looks exactly like Siouxie. She acts fine most of the daytime, but if she is on the the roost, or even on the nest, she will peck you! She lays a nice white smal/med. egg, about 5 times per week. Poor Shirley,my pet that is a gold and black Polish, with a mohawk, follows me like a little dog, and loves to be carried around, nodding her head, as if she is actually walking! I say “poor”, because all she can lay are the little yolkless wind eggs! Months back she acted funny, and I gave her your spa treatment! She loved it!

  11. I would love to know- because of HenCam, are Polish Crested chickens becoming more popular or less? :-D

  12. Onyx is my favorite among the Gems. The video of her talking won me over! She has a sweet soul to put up with Siouxsie. Onyx’s eyes tell the story in the picture of the dust bath. Who knew a chicken could “roll” her eyes! Thank you again for sharing Terry.