All My Chickens

Here is a group portrait of all my chickens, past and present. This doesn’t include the ones I’ve raised for other people, just the ones I have called “mine,” including those I’ve given away. There’s also a little history here. Chickens are a lot like people.

TOP ROW (Left To Right) Rudy (Rhode Island Red hen), the Emperor and the Empress (Brahma rooster and hen)

MIDDLE ROW (Left To Right) Blanche (White Plymouth Rock hen), Lefty (Buff Orpington rooster), Amelia (Barred Plymouth Rock hen)

BOTTOM ROW (Left To Right) Gracie and Bessie (Buff Orpington hens), Pearl (not really in the row, but that’s Pearl, White Plymouth Rock hen), Emily (Gold Laced Wyandotte hen)

When Lefty started crowing, he was adopted by a young couple in Southampton County since I can’t have roosters in my city. He was lonely being apart from the others, so the next day I took Rudy there as well for companionship. They are now raising their own chicks and living happily ever after with a big dog named Otis who keeps them all safe.

When the Emperor started crowing, he and the Empress were adopted by a farmer in the Smithfield area. They were the most regal looking chickens of them all, particularly when they were sitting. The black spots on the feathers around their necks gave the impression of royal ermine robes.

I truly did not want to give those four up, but there really was no choice. I couldn’t have roosters in my city, and the guys needed a friend to go with them. We would always sit and have a long talk on the mornings any had to leave. It is a strange thing knowing that forever after, your daily routine will never be the same.

With Lefty and Rudy and then the Emperor and Empress gone to new homes, that left me with only Gracie and Bessie.

Blanche and Pearl are from the second set of hatchlings (along with Amelia and Emily who were raised by friends out in the country). They are unlike any of the others, always looking for food and not particularly social except with each other. Pearl is a true comic who is always in the middle of a mess, and Blanche…well, she puts up with her out of love, I believe.

Amelia and Emily were the only two I didn’t raise from hatchlings. Friends of mine in a rural part of Suffolk were forced to give up all of their chickens due to zoning. They gave Amelia to me because she needed special attention, and Emily came with her for companionship.

So here is our group portrait. You will notice Pearl is not in line with the others which is so like her. She will always be just a little different without ever intending to be.

But aren’t people like that too? Never doing what you expect or want them to do? They can’t help it.

My Life With Gracie taught me chickens will be chickens, and people will be people.