A PhD student in the United Kingdom studying early modern epitaphs in manuscripts recently learned the chickens she had adopted were lesbians. Amanda Burton shared her story of the two avian lovers on Twitter in what has turned out to be one of the most unusual and heartwarming quarantined love stories.
“Just over a year ago, our neighbours asked me if I was missing a chicken, because one had been spotted on the meadow outside our house (I was not missing a hen),” Burton tweeted last month. “About 6 weeks later someone caught the hen and brought her to me, assuming she was mine (she was not).”
“She clearly loved being around people and we assumed she was a pet,” Burton explained. “We advertised everywhere but no one claimed her.”
So she decided to keep the chicken and named her Domino. Burton raises chickens, so this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem. However, chickens need to be quarantined, preferably with another chicken, prior to being introduced into a new community.
“That way,” Burton tweeted. “If they have recovered from something infectious but remain a carrier, you'll find out when the other bird gets sick.
So Burton adopted another chicken, this time a bantam Brahma, which is basically the Maine Coon cat of chickens. Her thinking was the new big bird (named Michelle Obrahma, of course!) would protect the smaller Domino from getting bullied by the other chickens. She’d soon learn it was the other chickens who needed protection from the spunky little chicken. Domino quickly became the dominant chicken while Michelle turned out to be all cluck and no fight.
“Meanwhile Michelle, the freaking ENORMOUS bird we brought in to 'protect' the sweet little bantam we adopted (ha!) was busy being frightened by wild sparrows, her own shadow, and was being picked on by all the other birds,” Burton tweeted.
Burton also noticed some interesting behavior from Domino and Michelle. While the other chickens took their own perch in the hen house, the two love birds shared a perch, usually with Domino folding Michelle under her wing. Domino would also bring treats and food to her big feathered friend, and the two would share a quick romantic meal together apart from the others. Burton knew they were close friends, but it seemed their relationship was exceptionally closer than usual.
It all finally made sense when she told her story to a chicken breeder who explained that Domino’s behavior was actually that of a rooster wooing a hen. In other words, Domino was in love with Michelle, and the attraction was mutual.
Domino and Michelle seem to have settled into their lives as unknowing advocates for poultry marriage equality. Domino has mellowed significantly, although she does rage at the wind while trying to lay eggs. Michelle, meanwhile, is still an “adorable scaredy/cat goofball.”
For now, though, the poultry pair are happy enough enjoying their match made in heaven’s hen house.