The Chicken Lady

Overheard in the market one day:

“Gram, don’t we know her?!”

“Shh!  Don’t point!  And yes, that’s the Chicken Lady!

This is me, as illustrated by very talented Sarah Jane.  I believe I am holding Emma Grace, our sweet little hen-that-could!

Farmer Tam, the Chicken Lady, as illustrated by Sarah Jane in 2010. Here I am, holding “Emma Grace”, the little Buff Orpington that could.

I could be called worse things.  Some women, they have a thing about shoes.  For me…

Over the weekend, I outfitted dear friends with some new hens after something, probably a fox, made off with four of theirs.  We had a lovely Easter Eve stroll through our poultry, shopping for “colors” to go with the 3 they already have.

I sent them home with an Araucana, 2 “Wing and a Prayer Mix”, and a Columbian Wyandotte.

I popped by yesterday to drop off some Hot Cross Buns and check on everyone.

“How are the girls?” I asked.

“Oh, they’re great – loved the Easter Egg hunt, wired from jellybeans, came home and had great naps” replied my friend, referring to her adorable toddlers.

“Right!  Of course!  Yes! That’s super!”  I refrained from further querying, “But, how are the GIRLS?” (You know, the feathered ones.)

Yesterday I’d also received a series of passionate emails from friend J that has only recently become a chicken farmer.  She bid on 4 hens & a little coop at a fundraiser last fall and won, much to her husband’s chagrin.  She came by our farm and selected her 4 girls  in late October and I stopped by a few times to see how things were going.  Oh gosh, my hens had stepped into chicken-heaven.  The digs are posh.  J does EVERYTHING right, attending to their smallest needs.  A chicken-mama couldn’t be happier.

But two days ago, she & her family had returned from a sunny vacation to find Winnie, an Araucana she’d gotten from me, was probably suffering from a vent prolapse.  J sent me emails and texts with photos and I coached her through some home remedies.  I was going to take her to nurse for them last evening if things weren’t going well.  Sadly, she emailed that after they’d bathed and soaked her and were about to treat her with some Preparation H (to attempt to shrink the swelling tissue), dear Winnie departed on them.

I mourn with them. She & her husband are beating themselves up for missing an earlier detection, but I tried to reassure her that these things happen to all of us.  I know how sad it is to lose a hen, a beloved pet.  I offered a new hen in her place, but they declined, saying they’d like to have some time to grieve.  I understand.

The incubator has 4 days to go before 42 eggs reveal new loves.  I’ve been candling and monitoring humidity and temperature for 17 days.  I’ve got Faverolles, White Crested Black Polish and Wing and a Prayer Mix chicks on the way.  Most are pre-sold, but not all.

There’s always room for more chickens.

The Girls

6 responses to “The Chicken Lady

  1. Nice story. We do get attached to our chickens, don’t we? Joanna refers to her group as her ‘Ladies.’ She watches them with great joy, out the kitchen window as they make their way back and forth across the yard. I’ve heard people say that chickens don’t have personality – boy, are they wrong … folks who say things like that simply haven’t lived around birds. Good luck with the hatch … we never seemed to have much luck with incubators. Reassure your friend that prolapses just happen, a fact of life. Finally … really like the cartoon drawing. You should take very great pride in being locally known as the ‘Chicken Lady.’ I’d consider it a very honorable label indeed. D

    • I have increased appreciation for our small farm, and others, after being in the land of Tyson and Walmart. A huge Tyson Chicken mascot waved at me while I was in a grocery store the other day and I restrained myself, giving a feeble wave back. Let’s just leave it at that.

  2. I would love to have chickens. It is unbearable when we lose animals, we always blame ourselves. I wonder if those black and white spotted ones in your photo are Domineckers? If not, I have never seen Domineckers, have you?

    • Hi Margaret: Thanks for the note. Yes, I have Dominiques. They are quite a bit older. My kids used to love to pick out chicks that are on the threatened or watch status to raise, and the Dominiques are classified as “watch.” We have all kinds, though!

    • Thank you Shulie! So happy to have you here at the farm! And I enjoy your blog as well – wow! Your photos and recipes are wonderful. Thanks so much for stopping by Wing and a Prayer Farm!

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