Isn't she gorgeous? She's a Cochin hen, a large breed that is known for their gentle natures and fluffy feet. I call them my Frodo chickens (for those of you not familiar with Hobbits, they have furry feet).
My son, Zach took this picture, and he was lucky to get it with the hen eating a sprig of parsley. We give our hens just about everything we don't send to the restaurant or compost. Weeds, Manresa kitchen scraps, our own kitchen scraps, harvest trimmings, or brush trimmings, the girls get most of it. It keeps our feed costs down, gives the hens treats that they dearly love, not to mention that a diet rich in lots of different things results, I believe, in better tasting eggs. I swear their eggs are extra herbalicious when we do our twice annual cutting back of our herb garden. I'm not sure how the bugs they are always catching affect the taste of the eggs, but at least it's really good protein.
The hens know when we're bringing them treats. They see us walking toward them with a bucket or a wheelbarrow, and they come running. We dump the receptacles in their pen and they happily scratch, squawk, and cluck in delight.
What I've noticed over the years is that they're not the biggest fan of tomatoes. Could it be they instinctively think it's a deadly type of a nightshade? I'm convinced they can automatically tell when a plant or a piece of kitchen scrap isn't good for them. Despite this eerie instinct, they eventually reluctantly accept the tomatoes, preferring the seedier varieties. Maybe I'm imagining this reluctance. It couldn't be that they're just tired of the hundreds of pounds of tomatoes they get fed over the course of a season, could it? Sometimes I almost see them sigh when I give them yet another bucket of tomatoes.