Here’s the second installment from The Poultry Princess. In case you missed the first one: no, this isn’t the pen name of my mirthful alter ego, but one in a series of stories by Heide Royer about the lighter side of keeping chickens. If you’re thinking about getting birds read these in preparation for those times when if things could go wrong they will go wrong.
“If I failed to mention that my life with chickens is anything but boring, let me lead with that. No two days are ever the same, in fact every morning I never really know what I’m going to wake up to. It’s only because when you own as many birds as I do, the variables of potential drama or unpredictable insanity increases per dozen or so. I have over six dozen ranging from one day old to almost two years (about as long as I’ve owned them.)
It’s nice when things seem normal. No one has died or gotten eaten by a predator. No one decided the neighbors feed was tastier and wandered off aimlessly. No one required shots or limbs manipulated back in place or eyeballs and buttholes squeezed. I call these days winners. Winning days make me feel like I’m the queen of the freaking poultry world. Today, I was the master of my own fate. Today I decided to change up a winning day into a self-inflicted clutch-er-f-erama.
This past weekend I spent a great deal of time pulling eggs from broody hens to figure out what’s developing and what’s not, what’s in its early stages and what’s about to hatch, simply so I can organize brooder rotation and separate duds from studs.
I have one hen, who I refer to as Wicked Sister #2, that’s a great mama, gets broody somewhat often, and is the epitome of health and breed (Old English Game bantam). She’s given me a lot of high quality and healthy chicks. I adore her so much and she hates me. Hates me like a fat country toad on a warm rock staring into the eyes of a black, hungry Water Moccasin Snake. Every time I come around she screeches and puffs up at me like I’m about to destroy her bloodline and sleep with her husband. Unhappy doesn’t even describe how she acts. It’s deadly. She would destroy me if she weighed about 140.5 ounces more.
I knew I had to go in. I knew I was up against this sweet, adorable, doe-eyed feathered b*^%. I usually like the snatch and grab method, or push the hen aside and just let them know who is boss, but for whatever reason, this one terrifies me. She couldn’t really do much damage, but in my mind’s eye she’d already taken three fingers and my expensive eyelashes for trophies.
Breathe Heide. You got this. She’s just a freaking bantam chicken, not even full grown! You’ve battled turkeys for less. Get in there, pull the egg, give her the middle finger, and walk away like the boss you think you are.
I closed my eyes and went in for a kiss, like a teenage boy on junior prom night and very much like that night for me, got slapped back into reality. Problem was, I actually had the egg in my hand, so when she pecked me, I recoiled quickly and the egg went flying. It went flying backwards and I could see it like a moment in the Matrix. Slowly at first with a flash of white, then that image sped up and my world turned yellow. I knew what had happened but couldn’t tell my brain to respond with any semblance of reason. I had in fact egged myself in the face.
I stood there paralyzed not wanting to open my eyes, because at this point I didn’t know if I had picked one of the developed eggs or one that the other hens had donated to the cause, so for a minute I had to muster up the courage to see if I had baby chicken splattered on my glasses and arms. I was so afraid to open my eyes I waited to hear a distress peep, or last breath from a chick taken too soon. If any of those things had transpired, I would have stroked out only to be eaten by the remaining flock and imagining the horror endured by my poor child left to find a purple polka dotted bra and soiled boy shorts on the floor of the coop.
Only mucky yellow yolk and egg white. All. Over. My. Face. And. Arm.
I stood there and laughed for a solid five minutes, wondering if this has ever happened to anyone else in their lifetime, and if not, it’s pretty life changing.
I’m still winning just realizing it’s a long race.”
Hugs and quiches to all, and to all a good night, The Puerto Rican Poultry Princess
Bio: Heide Royer is the artist behind Heidinmyworld of Art. Her creative passion lies within the animal world and is expressed through her visually compelling artwork. She is also an aspiring writer telling stories of her chicken farm life in a new book entitled “All Cooped Up – My Life with Chickens During A Pandemic”, filled with crazy antics and a lot of fowl play. It’s sure to bring laughter to any poultry loving household.