Squawker the hen

I have a hen named Squawker and she is without doubt the most annoying chicken I have ever had. She is constantly hiding her eggs so about every 3 days I have to go looking for her stash.

She sat on eggs in the middle of the winter and then when the chicks hatched she defended them aggressively for 3 weeks and then weaned them 3 days before the coldest weather we have had in years. I was left to keep the chicks alive through 12 degree nights and 25 degree days.

But in spite of all this by far her most annoying habit is the reason she has her name. I have been working in barns before where the owners kept guineas. I always wondered how they could stand the constant noise these birds make. Well, Squawker is like a guinea fowl on steroids.

She will come in the hen house, which is in my barn, and squawk for hours at a time. I go out on a regular basis with a broom and chase her out of the hen house so the other hens can have some peace and quiet to lay their eggs. She is mightily offended when I do this.

Well the other day Squawker developed a new trick. She decided if we did not appreciate her serenades she would roost somewhere other than the hen house. I knew this choice would be a death sentence for her but despite searching I could not find her.

Sure enough, about midnight, I hear a huge ruckus and I knew something was after Squawker. I go charging out the door in my stocking feet and throw on all the lights. I was pretty sure I heard some muffled clucking so I go back in and get my boots and a flashlight.

Here I am wandering around the barnyard calling for Squawker and all the animals are looking at me like I have lost my mind. Finally, I remember to pray and immediately God guides me to a piece of plywood leaning against the wall. I peek under and see Squawker. She is so quiet that I assume she is dead but when I gently reach in to get her she comes to life in true Squawker fashion.

She starts screeching at the top of her lungs and pecking at me. I try to comfort her and she screeches louder. All the horses start running around and the goats are at full attention. The rooster starts crowing and I expect the neighbors to start arriving with guns in hand at any minute.

Finally I get Squawker back into the hen house and set her on a roost. She shuts up, fluffs her feathers and acts like the whole incident was may fault. When I get back in the house and try to slow my heart rate so I can go back to sleep I am wondering why I care so much about this hen who gives me nothing but trouble.

I realize I love her because she is in my flock. If she belonged to someone else I would think she would make great soup. As usual, God used one on my animals to teach me that this is the way he feels about us. We are in his flock.

Even when we break the rules, refuse to obey, try to escape and blame him for all our troubles He still loves us. He still looks for us when we stray, he rescues us from our enemies, he comforts us and brings us back into His house. And yet we still squawk. Madalyn

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About Madalyn Ward, DVM

This blog provides information based on my unique take on horse health and well being. The articles are based on experience of treating and working with horses for over 40 years. In most cases the articles are focused on an holistic approach to health and management. When conventional medicine offers good research or therapy, I share this information as well. Madalyn Ward, DVM

5 thoughts on “Squawker the hen

  1. Dwayne Gillispie

    I am so glad someone else also has a squawker. I have babied mine for almost 4 years. Now I don’t feel like I am alone in my having all these mentally challenged animals.


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  3. Jan Parrish

    Madalyn – I have really enjoyed reading your blogs since you moved to the Fischer area. I especially love the way you incorporate God into dy-to-day living in a gentle yet profoundly useful way. Here’s to Squawker a teacher of sorts.

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