Several years ago, my daughter joined 4H. I did a happy dance because that meant that we finally had a legitimate excuse to get chickens. I have always been an animal girl, but when I was growing up, my mom never allowed me to get any pets beyond the family dog. It was sort of traumatic, actually. In 3rd grade, my class raised crayfish to learn about their life cycle. Many of the other children were allowed to keep theirs, but I had to release “Pokey” into the stream instead. When I was 13 and worked for a woman who showed dogs, I was offered the opportunity to be the guardian of Barnaby, a beautiful black and tan standard long haired dachshund. Mom said no (“he sheds.”) And in high school, when I raised mice for a science fair project (to run color-coded mazes), mom said they had to go as soon as the project was finished.
With 2 dogs, 1 cat, 3 chickens, and 1 visiting parakeet, maybe I am making up for lost time…But sadly, the family zoo is on the decline. We just lost one of our 16 year old cats, and the other one is getting bonier by the day, although she still purrs like she did as a kitten. And one of our chickens up and died suddenly the other day.
Our local animal shelter recently rescued over 100 hens from a nearby egg-farm. They are 2 years old, and are apparently not producing at their full potential anymore. So instead of them getting euthanized, the Marin Humane Society offered to put them up for adoption. And if their recent Facebook posts seeking egg recipes are any indication, they are still making enough eggs for the average family. Time for a family field trip…
When we got our first glimpse of the chickens, we immediately noticed that some of the chickens were in better shape than others. Some had bald spots. Some were missing all of their tail feathers. Amelia gave a lot of thought to which ones she wanted – did she want healthy looking chickens, risking that they would be dominant and beat up our girls at home? Or did she want ones that clearly looked like victims, hoping they would grow beautiful once they lived with us for awhile?
We opted for 3 hens – two that looked good, and one that had room for improvement.
Their names? Well, they had to fit in with our existing flock (Butterflied, Soup and Oreo). Welcome home Nugget, Pot Pie and Terryaki. We are not morbid. We just have a sense of humor.
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