Saturday, February 20, 2010

The First Chicken

Everyone has an addiction to something. Deny it, I dare you, but everyone has an addiction...they may not even realize it.

My addiction is to poultry.

Poultry addictions start out relatively harmless enough I least that's what I told myself when I was spending an insane amount of money in order to acquire a small flock of show quality Black Langshans. And when I spent a small mint to acquire my pen of show quality Call ducks. And, it's what I told my husband when I coerced him and my best friend into taking a trip to Portage County (a good two hour drive) just so I could get a pair of Embden Geese.

I acquired my first chicken in 2000 - our first child was just a year old, and it was Easter time. I actually ran across a guy giving away Rhode Island Red chicks infront of the local Walmart! I was on my way out with that weeks groceries, and well, who can pass up a cute little mahogany red chick?!

Not me.

My husband nearly exploded through the roof....after all, we were NOT in the country. No, we lived right smack in the middle of a busy neighborhood in Western Tennessee. You know the kind, you can stick your hand out your window right into their livingroom? We actually were blessed as the house we were buying was situated on 3 town lots, so we did have the largest yard (and the most space between houses) in our neighborhood.

But were chickens even allowed?

I later figured out they were, but not in time to convince my husband that Little Red could stay.

Little Red lived out his first few weeks in a cat carrier in our enclosed back porch. I knew nothing about chickens at the time. He didn't have a heat lamp, but he was handled and loved on a lot. I don't even remember what I fed him. I know we didn't buy any chick feed, so I imagine I must have fed him food scraps.

My husband was on me from day 1 - "You have to do something with that chicken! We're in town!"

But, I loved Little Red and didn't want to give him up.

My rescuer came in the form of my Grandmother.

Grandma stopped by the house to visit, and I immediately asked, "Grandma, would you like a pet chicken?"

After all, Grandma and Grandpa were out in the country and they could have chickens - if they wanted.

Grandma smiled her pleasant smile that she always wore and kind of chuckled as she said, "Sure!"

Little Red moved out of his cat carrier that day, and moved into Grandpa's Garage. He was the most spoiled chicken I had known (until more recent years) and his best friend and playmate was my Grandpa's dog, Chip.

Grandma would go out the back door with food scraps and call "chick chick" and Little Red would come flying out of the garage for his treats.

Little Red grew into a beautiful rooster. I know that he had a wonderful life, although I suspect he also made a nice dinner for my grandparents. ;)

In December of that year, we made the decision to move back to Ohio. My husband had 7+ acres waiting for us, with his name all over it. It would take 4 more years before we actually settled onto our 7+ acres, but I was already plotting and planning how I'd have chickens and maybe rabbits, cattle, and.......

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