Meet Julie White's four hens: Bindin, Chips, Neptune and Peepen.
Julie White loves chicken.
More precisely, she loves chickens.
Not just barnyard, egg-laying chickens, but those as pets with personalities — those who know words, even if it’s not that many.
Meet her four hens: Bindin, Chips, Neptune and Peepen.
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Bindin is a Jersey Giant.
“She’s smart, but a little shy,” says Julie. “She knows her name and will come over and ask for treats. She’s lowest on the pole.”
That would be the pecking order.
Chips, a light Brahma, is No. 1. “She’s super affectionate and will hug with her neck and kiss, touching beak to face.”
Neptune, a silver-laced Wyandotte, “is sidekick to the top bird and will enforce what the top bird is doing.” She can get nippy to make a point.
Peepen, a Gold Sex Link, “is smart, curious, and as close to a dog as a chicken can be. She’ll stand outside and call for us” so she can get inside the house.
Their favorite food is worms, and when Julie brings out a shovel to turn soil in their garden, they come running.
Lettuce is also a favorite. Special treats include blueberries and green beans.
Once a year, at birthday time in March, all four will have a collective party. They’ll feast on cornbread.
Members of her flock can fly about 6 feet and “sometimes jump on me, and once Neptune landed on my head.”
Art school-trained (Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design), Julie does chicken and bird portraiture. She works from photos people send her or ones she’ll take with her iPhone.
Her postcards, drawings and other work are available at about two dozen stores — mainly in the Seattle area but also four other states — under the name Je Ne Sais Cluck.
Though chickens can be trained to use a litter box, Julie’s quartet has its own coop, and if they come inside, it’s only on the linoleum floor by the door. “They’re not as messy as you might think. But we like to keep them outside. They’re not allowed on the carpet.”
Some chicken owners outfit theirs with specially made diapers. But not Julie.
“I can’t imagine changing a chicken’s diaper.”