Sunny Side Up

Erin McKenna ’18

For the last few years, my mom has been talking about getting chickens. She grew up on a farm, so it’s understandable why she would want them, and gain that rural part of her life back. My dad however, is a different story. He has avidly protested the chicken idea and is the reason we didn’t get them 2 years ago.

Last weekend, my dad was gone for the entirety of Friday. My mom saw the opportunity and took it. When he came home, there was a chicken coop in the backyard. Come Sunday, we had three small inhabitants in the coop, one each for sisters and I. As retaliation, for dinner on Sunday night, my dad made us chicken.

We actually had the opportunity to hand select the chickens we wanted. My older and younger sister both picked stereotypical yellow chicks that has probably modeled for an Easter card at some point. Of course, I can’t follow the norm, and I picked a brown and white speckled chicken that can be described only as ugly cuteness.

My chicken’s name is Betty, while the others are Sally and Dutchie. My mom got to pick the names, since we got to pick out our chickens. They are not used to being held and so we’ve been holding (or in my sister’s case: manhandling) them as much as possible. We obviously don’t want them to be afraid of us, and Betty and I have already formed a close friendship.

Betty and I shortly after our first meeting.

Betty and I shortly after our first meeting.

The daily routine for chickens is not nearly as time-consuming as one would think. At night, we put them to “bed.” that basically entails us putting them in the little room of the chicken coop, so animals don’t see them from the fenced-in enclosure. In the morning, you open a hatch connecting the indoors to the outdoors. They come barreling out of their “bedroom” onto the ramp, often getting stuck when they try to go out at the same time, because they know their breakfast awaits them at the bottom.

Throughout the day, we let them roam the backyard. Their small enclosure does not provide them the freedom they need. The chickens eat the bugs in the yard and chase each other around.

They are still very young, but they are growing fast. They will start producing eggs as early as the fall. Once they start, our meals will consist of eggs and some eggs, and possibly a side of eggs. All of our neighbors will also be blessed with a bounty of eggs, as we have already promised them a share in the production.

I don’t want to pick favorites, but Betty is definitely my favorite. She is super laid back, and you can hold her for hours.

Betty will always have my shoulder to cry on.

Betty will always have my shoulder to cry on.

However, Betty isn’t the brightest chicken. Every morning, without fail, in her hurry to get to her breakfast, she falls off the ramp. Also, whenever we let them out to play in the yard, she stands outside the fence of the little enclosure, occasionally walking right into the fence, trying to figure out how to get inside. The open door is about 5 inches away from her.

Betty sitting on a swing like the chill little chicken she is.

Betty sitting on a swing like the chill little chicken she is.

     Even with her faults, Betty is my bestest friend and I count my blessings everyday that she has come into my life.

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