There’s nothing particularly unusual about the deer that come out of the woods to help themselves to the apples and acorns that fall from Dawn Flagg’s trees. But things got a bit unusual on Flagg’s farm recently when one of her chickens decided the deer have no business in or near the barnyard.
The chicken in question is a Blue Plymouth Rock hen named Smokey. Flagg said she first noticed something was going on about a week ago when she caught sight of Smokey marching up to some of the feeding deer.
“The first time Smokey saw the deer she just walked right up to them and was checking them out,” Flagg said. “She was like, ‘You are not my goats, who are you?’”
The next day, Flagg said, Smokey was a bit more aggressive.
“She went up to the deer and she was all puffed up,” Flagg said. “It was like she was saying, ‘You are not one of us, so get out of here.’”
The tactic worked on the younger deer, according to Flagg, who fled back into the woods around the barnyard with Smokey hot on their heels. The more mature deer, on the other hand, seem to be having a hard time taking the chicken seriously.
“The bigger deer look at her like, ‘You are so small we could just stomp you,’” Flagg said. “But she will chase them, too.”
Blue Plymouth Rocks are the result of crossing an Andalusian rooster with a Plymouth Barred Rock hen. Both are heritage breed chickens, meaning their lineage goes back generations. They are known for being prolific egg layers who do well in colder climates.
They are also typically sweet, calm and docile members of a flock who are very curious. Smokey apparently did not get the memo on the sweet and docile bit.
“I’ve never seen a chicken chase deer like this before,” Flagg said. “The roosters I have now were supposed to be for protecting the flock but they are really friendly and it’s Smokey that runs out to defend the other chickens.”
Smokey does get along with the other 15 members of her flock in addition to Flagg’s two ducks, two goats, two dogs and two cats. She also gets along with humans.
“I can walk up to her and she just squawks at me and then goes about her business,” Flagg said. “This is part of the fun of chickens, they have such wicked different personalities.”