Hen Talk

The other day I was mildly complaining about the laborious Chicken Routine I follow each and every morning. Specially: modified boots (their soles are, in my mind, poop-infested; whether it be a fact or not, I don’t know, and I’m not investigating, thus they are forever my Chicken Boots), gigantic yellow coat ironically filled with down (though I don’t point this ticklish feature to my ducks; I’m not cruel), fill the Chicken Pitcher (yes, that’s a thing in this house) with tap water because the outside taps are winterized (they have essentially towels wrapped around them to protect them; it’s true science right there), and grab a Cup of Stuff, meaning whatever scraps or bits or food I want to give the birds.
Even though I’m sweating already and done with the birds before laying an eye upon them, THEN I go outside; dump the stuff; pour the water; gather the eggs, Scurry inside. De-wardrobe. Re-wardrobe in Proper Work Attire. Make-up if I must.
This particular morning I had not been rewarded with eggs. And my companion said, “You get eggs?”
I blinked. “Yes. But not today.”
“You get eggs in winter?”
Oh, this is a thing, I remark to myself. “Okay, why is that strange?”
“Because…” and here she spluttered. My fellow chicken rancher spluttered. “They don’t lay eggs in the winter. You gotta go to the store.”
“Well…” I started and stopped. I scratched my head, then said, “I don’t know what to tell you.”
I didn’t let her in on my Magical Skills, which I think include a heat lamp and oyster shell. As it turns out, I’m giving credit to my latent Rancher Gene for my intuitive insight into chicken rearing. Read that as: Wow! I’m inordinately lucky! (Except for the ducks. They don’t do anything but poop and squawk and shed their pretty feathers, which is their only redeeming quality.)
Who knew?
So this morning I went out for the Chicken Routine and to my surprise, I found three eggs awaiting me, so I forgave Old Red for her new habit of grabbing at me with her claws and pecking my hands when I feed her. I seethe, yet soothe, with “Nice birdy,” seeping from between my clenched teeth. She’s giving you eggs, I forever tell myself.
But I must say, even with all my Chicken Whisperin’ skills, that besides understanding the phrases “hen pecked,” and “mad as a wet hen,” (tiny bit of retaliation on my part there, I’ll admit), light was shed on the phrase “Stick ‘er in the pot.”
Yeah. I have another whole perfectly good hen who doesn’t hurt me. I could make do with only one egg a day.

 

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