And that’s why we call her Durf

Further evidence that if Durf, our Buff Orpington were any dumber, we’d have to water her twice a week: she isn’t bright enough to come in out of the rain. I just went out to make sure the chickens were all locked up in their coop for the night, and found Durf on the perch in the uncovered run area, dripping wet, muttering unhappily. I tried poking her off the perch, and she just sidled away from me. So I lowered the perch to the ground, hoping she’d get the clue and go inside. Nope, she just stood there on the lowered perch, getting rained on. So I had to climb inside the run, pick her up, and put her in the enclosed coop. Where she proceeded to just stand there, occasionally pecking at the ground. I tried lighting a path for her from where she was to the area of the coop with the night-time perches, and she just blinked at me. So I had to get back into the coop and shepherd her into the fully-enclosed area. Eventually, she got the idea, and I heard her hop up onto one of the perches.

But, come on. Sitting in the rain and cold, when there’s a warm perch with the two other chickens not 10 feet away. I worry about Durf. On the one hand, she’s a bully to the other chickens. On the other hand, she’s about as smart as a cabbage. Maybe being a bully is all she has.

2 thoughts on “And that’s why we call her Durf

  1. Ye gods- that IS dumb! Is this typical of the Orpingtons, or is Durf just a “special” hen (if you know!)?

  2. It’s hard to believe the breed would’ve survived this long if Durf weren’t at least a little bit unusual. I mean, it certainly seems like she’s just barely smart enough to eat. For weeks, I’d feed the chicks treats and Durf would be confused. The other two chicks would be chowing down, and she’d be totally unclear about what all the commotion was about. You’d see her wandering around the other two chicks, picking woodchips up out of the bedding and putting them down again. Things went something like this:

    Cam: “Here you guys go. Have some carrot greens.”
    Miss Thing: Oh, a treat! nom nom nom.
    Trouble: TREAT! nom nom TREAT!!!! nom nom nom MINE!!
    Durf: I haz a woodchip? Iz… wha?

    As a chick, Durf didn’t seem to have a good sense of how big she was or how much space she could fit into.

    She’s certainly unusual in that she’s a bully; usually they’re the ones more likely to be bullied. It looks very much like she’s just not smart enough to notice much of anything beyond chicken politics, and is thus undistracted by curiosity.

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