Making Me Laugh

February 16, 2011

I saw two news items today confirming the continued popularity of chickens across the world. The first came from Sunset Magazine proclaiming backyard chicken coops as one of the Top 100 Cultural Trends in the West. It’s part of “The ideas, people, places, and things that are making life out here better right now.”

The second news item came from Dorset, England, where they’re experiencing a rise in chicken thefts. The reason? The price of a purebred chicken has risen because of the popularity of raising chickens. “The Domestic Fowl Trust says chicken thefts, driven by rising prices, are happening more regularly across the country. When you could get a bird for £5, no-one cared. But now that keeping poultry is more popular and prices are higher, we are seeing these thefts increase. It is a really popular hobby – it is the fastest growing pet market there is at the moment.” Shouldn’t we have a “Domestic Fowl Trust” in this country too?

I think that one under-appreciated reason for the chicken craze is because chickens brighten your day and make you laugh. Take this morning for instance. My day started out with six knobby chicken knees peering through the window at me. I was late with the girls’ warm breakfast mash and as I entered the run I looked up to find a line of scaly legs as the only thing visible through the coop window. Kinda’ looked like the Rockettes – if the Rockettes were made up of chickens.

Everyday it’s something new. Yesterday Roxanne didn’t want to touch the snow but she was also tired of being held by me. So, off she flew from my arms, bounced twice on the snow-covered path like a deflated basketball and finally landed up to her neck in the snowbank. She haughtily scrambled out of the snow attempting to keep her matronly dignity intact.

Then there’s Ruby, who wears as much food as she eats. As her beak gets coated with a mustache of yogurt she swings her head causing it all to land on her head. Yesterday she wandered about with a cape of arugula perched on her back.

Chickens are pets that provide many diverse dividends. Yes, they give us eggs, but they’ll also give you something to smile and laugh at. In spite of yourself.

2 Responses to “Making Me Laugh”

  1. February 20, 2011 at 11:12 am, Shannon said:

    Hi Janice,
    I just picked up your book, and I enjoyed it very much! I've read a lot of chicken/urban farming memoirs lately, but yours really stands out. I'm originally from the Twin Cities area, so I especially loved the essay on the cold snap. I know what you mean when you say that most people in the country don't know what cold really is!

    Thank you for the delightful, informative, and light-hearted yet thought-provoking book. I will be recommending it and giving it as gifts this year.


  2. February 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm, Janice said:

    Thanks so much for your comments and taking the time to write, it means a lot! I'm glad you identified with the cold weather essay, you haven't lost your Minnesota roots yet, good for you!


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