When you raise chickens, interesting things happen. Many of the unexpected side effects of pet chickens are blanched in amusement but understandable. I’ve had my entire crop of broccoli seedlings wiped out by brassica loving hens. (Yes, broccoli stuffed chicken) Folks walk by my home on our busy street and often point at my hens and laugh. “Is that a CHICKEN?” My girls, as I call my hens, have learned to come up on my porch and peck at the door when they want a little attention.
Somehow, all that seemed to make sense. But the interaction of Facebook and pet poultry seems less congruous. Maybe it’s the contrast of barnyard and bandwidth. But over the last months, I was asked to bring a chicken along during a professional appointment and I was asked to help relocate a homeless rooster by a stranger – both experiences started with Facebook.
I love the process and fun of social media and I’ve discovered many wonderful and people and opportunities through Facebook and Twitter. One of the people I’ve gotten to know, runs a Pennsylvania state agency. Since I work at home, I often have coffee with folks to keep from becoming a complete recluse. So I asked the state agency director to meet for coffee one day. He asked me just to come by his office and well…. he asked me to bring a chicken with me.
Not having met in person, I wasn’t sure he was serious. And knowing how messy they are – my girls are not litter trained – I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave a trail of chicken droppings throughout a state office. So I left the chickens at home and met with him. That day, our talk turned professional as he learned more about my background. He suggested I come back another time to talk more. AND he asked me to make sure and bring a chicken when I returned.
We communicated more on Facebook and it became clear that he seriously wanted me to bring a chicken for our next talk. In hope of preventing a mess, I ordered a chicken diaper. The day of our appointment, I chose a chicken, put the diaper on her and put her in a cat carrier and into the Mini Cooper.
As I walked into the office, got checked in by security and rode up an elevator, I became convinced I would make dinner table conversations that night. “You’ll never believe what I saw today. A weird woman was carrying a chicken, wearing a diaper, in a cat carrier in my office today. I rode up the elevator with her. Man, chickens make a lot of noise.”
The agency staff had fun with the chicken who was surprisingly calm. She posed for photos perched on the foosball table. She observed graphics spinning across a Mac computer screen. She let staff hold her.
But then there was a diaper fail. Yes, she left a huge gift right in the middle of a carpeted walkway. And carpet doesn’t need the nitrogen like my garden does. I’d come prepared. I had Oxiclean and paper towels. But my face was all sorts of crimson as I got on my knees and cleaned up the mess.
The combo of Facebook and chickens again created an interesting situation this past weekend. A Facebook friend, Pam, who I honestly don’t know well, had a friend – Andrea- who lives in inner city Harrisburg. A rooster had turned up in her backyard. Pam tagged me in a post looking for help for Andrea and her rooster.
Over the last three years, I’ve had the good fortune to meet a lot of farmers in my area, many of them through Facebook. So I contacted one of my social media savvy farmer friends who raises hundreds of chickens, and ask her to take the rooster.
My friends, Dru and Homer, said yes. So after a series of phone calls, (I’ve heard so many jokes around this happening…. I have to share at least one… “Hello, Laura, I need help with my c#@%.” It goes on…) I went to Andrea’s and retrieved the rooster.
When Andrea said she had a rooster, I’d envisioned a typical rooster. Perhaps a Plymouth red, about a couple feet tall, and perhaps beat up from fighting. But what she had, was a very special little rooster. He was shiny black with just a few copper feathers. Small lavender feathers punctuated his head. Very sweet, the diminutive 6-inch tall roo, responded well to being held. I loaded him into my Mini and headed out to Sunnyside Farm that would be his new home. One the way, I called my friend to warn her, that this rooster was well… tiny.
I was tempted to keep him. But concerned about the noise, I handed him over to Homer, who also seemed charmed by him. Homer installed him in their hoop house for the company and for a little bit of bug elimination. “He’s small enough, he can’t do much damage,” said Homer.
Of course, I posted a photo of the rooster on Facebook. Another chicken-knowledgeable Facebook friend confirmed that the rooster was a specialty bantam; an Antwerp Belgium Bantam. That friend suspected he was not raised for fighting but had escaped from a chicken hobbyist.
So modern Facebook has provided me with some interesting experiences with age-old chicken rearing. Yes, I am that crazy lady who took a chicken to a job interview and was tracked down for help with a rouge rooster. Life. Always interesting.