CHICKENS

I don’t want to sound uppity but I know people with chickens.

You remember Mr. Beekeeper, right? He’s back in the chicken business. I learned of this on July 25 when my brother-in-law reported that a chicken stood in the middle of our road and did not respond to shooing or horn honking. Knowing my love of chickens, you would think Mr. Beekeeper would keep me apprised of new chickens but he didn’t. The other day, he forgot to put his recycle bin at the curb. This gave me an excuse to go in his yard to fetch it and look for chickens. Sure enough, a rooster and two different breed of chickens were clucking around the back yard.

My friend Lam (pseudonym to protect her reputation) rescued a French Black Copper Marans when it was half grown. The poor thing had been beaten up so bad a toe was missing on each foot, scar tissue dotted the beak, the comb point had been bitten off and later, Lam figured out the chicken was almost completely blind. At the time of rescue, everyone thought it was a pullet which had a lot to do with Lam’s rescue decision. She figured a chicken that couldn’t fly or destroy the garden was a good thing. Immediately, she got to work on a Marriott Chicken Coop for her new buddy.

chicken coop -5303
Photo credit: Lam

Lam and “Tootsie” were settling in to be good friends when gender issues arose.

Photo credit: Lam
Photo credit: Lam

First, the bird developed pointy copper saddle feathers.  The final conviction on gender occurred when Tootsie began to quietly crow between 7 and 8 a.m. Living in a residential neighborhood where chickens are currently illegal, she knew the rooster had to go.

The exchange of chickens, whether free, bartered or purchased, fascinated me. Most urban farmers don’t have a lot of farm equipment for transporting chickens. Lam used a cat carrier. Others have used rabbit cages or a cardboard box with holes.

By far, the most common chicken transporter turns out to be human laps, with or without chicken diapers. This was the preferred method of Tootsie’s new owner who plopped the bird in the lap of her passenger. Lam also admitted that their chicken exchange in the Wal-Mart parking lot “weirded out a few people.” Don’t you just know I would have paid a whole wooden dollar for that photo!

The most interesting method of chicken transporting is allowing the chicken to drive itself home. This is Sevan’s new chicken acquired from the local chickenzoo.

Chicken on steering wheel imp-
Photo credit: Chickenzoo

Lam was a bit sad that her rooster had to be adopted out. Besides companionship, Tootsie quickly learned who belonged and who did not. After Tootsie became a “he,” she crowed when anyone strange made a noise near Lam’s house. Her other pullet, acquired to keep Tootsie company, started “cheeping piteously” after Tootsie’s exit. Lam gave the pullet a piece of scrap mirror and reports that the pullet is “buddying up to her own reflection.”