It occurred to me that if chickens have calls for different types of predators, certainly they would have calls for people too. I couldn’t recall reading anything about sounds they make to identify different people, but looked forward to finding something. At that moment though, I was headed out to take care of chickens and paused to ask my husband about it. He suggested I record them ‘talking’ to me and over time it might become clear. I didn’t need longer than 2 seconds beyond the door to figure it out. They saw me and came running over, calling my name. I didn’t realize the sound we made to greet each other was how they refer to me, but it was incredibly simple and obvious. No recording device needed! I hardly ever bring treats from inside (that’s my husband’s job), so I usually tell them “no, no, no” in a sing-song voice to let them know I didn’t bring anything. They all join in, 11 hens and one crazy chicken lady making the same joyful noise together. It sounds like a cross between no, oh, new, and who. I’ve listened carefully and they do call me the same thing throughout the day.
I don’t mind being called a chicken lady. In fact, I kind of like it. Someone was telling me about another woman who owns chickens, when she turned to someone else and asked, “What is her name? You know, the chicken lady.” My first thought was, “I’m right here and I am the chicken lady.” My second was, “Ugh. Selfish!” It’s exciting to know someone else is referred to as “The Chicken Lady” and it makes me feel like we’re in on the same delightful secret. After all, it does include the word lady, so there are worse things to be called. I believe my initial reaction was simply a response to the surprise. I am looking forward to meeting the other chicken lady!