Wednesday, August 29, 2012
It's another, "I was minding my own business" story
You know the routine, I was minding my own business last week, mulling over which wormer to buy at the feed store. Content with my choice, I meandered up to the check out counter at my small local feed store where every knows your name, or at least what route number you live on.
A very nicely attired - at least for the feed store - gentleman of about sixty came in with a box in his hands, the kind of box you would buy a large quantity of Xerox paper in, say 16" x 14" or so.
The two regulars behind the counter, and I, all looked at him as he shyly said he had a chicken and that so and so who worked there had agreed to take it off his hands. But she wasn't working this particular day.
Now everyone at this store has plenty of chickens, as do I, so it's not like we all jumped at the chance to perhaps intervene and take the chicken.
"Is it a rooster?" I asked, usually the case when someone wants to rehome a chicken.
"No, it's a hen..." he said rather sheepishly.
"Why are you giving her away?" I asked.
"She keeps getting out into the neighbor's yard and into my vegetables and I just can't put fencing up. She's free range," he said. "She gets into everything."
Now, this is where I wanted to say, "You're free ranging a chicken in your yard, without fencing anywhere, and you now realize she will go in your garden, and your neighbors?" Just one of many reasons animal sanctuaries all over are overrun with chickens.
Anyway, he seemed to be a very nice man, at least in the five minutes I knew him, and I sensed his city neighbor was the main issue in this matter. He wasn't a farmer type and didn't have a network of chicken homes to reach out to, so he came to the feed store. He claimed she might have to become a picnic if he didn't give her to someone. We all knew this guy was not capaable of the deed or he would have done it already.
The girls behind the counter asked me if I wanted the chicken.
The entire time, I was thinking, "I do not need to take this chicken, step away from the chicken, someone has already said they'd take this chicken, you do not need to help every chicken that crosses the road..."
But then I went and asked him just what kind of chicken was in that closed box of his.
"An Astrolup," he said.
My heart raced.
"I'll take her," I said, without even looking at her.
"I don't know if she still lays, but she's nice," he said.
He seemed almost sad about giving up the chicken, but also resigned to not leaving with her, or the box.
"I've always wanted an Astrolup," I said, and we peeked in the box. She was a beautiful coco color.
I clucked to her all the way home, leaving people at stop signs bemused.
Now, if I had been to the feed store one minute earlier, or later, I would have missed the chance. Surely it was destiny, for both hen and woman.
And can I tell you, she is a fabulous hen. Very tame, which makes me think the man really did care for her and like her. I told him how good she'd have it here, and that she would die a natural death here by nature, not by anyone's hand.
I never asked him if she had a name. But I call her Henrietta.