I had a pet chicken when I was a kid. He started out as a tiny, yellow Easter chick, that I got at the E Street Market. He grew to be a large, ill-tempered Rhode Island Red rooster. He crowed, which didn’t add to his popularity among the neighbors.
Petey had only one “trick.” It was weird, but it amused my playmates. Chickens are probably the only “pets” you can rock to sleep instantly. Just tuck the head under one wing and swing gently to and fro for a few seconds and they’re off to Snoozeville. Rest the chicken on the ground and it will stay motionless for about a minute. (If you want to see this done, Martha Stewart has a YouTube clip.)
Petey vs. the Postman
But the day came when it was time for Petey to go—not to the pot, but to a barnyard. After the postman was chased and pecked by our “Security Rooster” one time too many, he threatened to stop delivering the mail.
Not wanting to risk retaliation from the United States Government, we sent Petey off to a nearby farm. The poor, deprived rooster had never seen another chicken, so he had a bit of an identity crisis at first. But he finally settle in.
This weekend my St. Louis granddaughters got to play with chickens at a friend’s farm on the Missouri River. Like me when I was that age, they found it fun to hold a squirmy, bundle of feathers that went “cluck, cluck.”
On their outing, they even found a few morels in the nearby woods. Auntie Robin is training them at a young age to stalk the wild mushrooms each spring.
As to chickens and children, it’s good to see they still find each entertaining.