I have a chicken. Her name is Fred—after Super Chicken’s lion sidekick. But maybe it is more correct to say that Fred has me. It all started two weeks ago. I was working in my room with the window open, because it faces south and so is very hot even on relatively cool days. And I thought I heard a goose outside. I thought maybe a flock of geese had landed to eat, as they do from time to time. But there were no geese so I passed it off to my generally tenuous relationship with the outside world. About 15 minutes later, however, I heard the same sound in addition to some people talking.
I went outside and my neighbors told me that there was a chicken in my yard. The speculation was that the chicken must belong to one of the houses across the highway from us. I went over there and found the main place that had chickens. I managed to get their caretaker to come over, but she claimed that it was not their chicken. This may or may not be true. She just may not have wanted to bother. Regardless, the chicken got into a regular habit of sleeping on the muffler of the car and then hanging out in our backyard during the day. This concerned me. I was afraid we might take off with the chicken one morning. But soon, Fred began spending all of her time in the backyard.
As you can see, Fred is rather skinny. This also concerned me, so I located a feed store and made my way to it. The place had a greeter, so I asked, “A chicken has adopted me, so I’m looking for a small amount of food for her.” He looked consternated, which I took to mean that they didn’t sell small amounts of food. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He said, “We don’t actually give any feed away.” I was simultaneously embarrassed and outraged. I replied, “I’m going to buy it, of course!” So he quickly provided me with the aisle and I was off. He was nowhere to be found when I came out. I hope I embarrassed him.
I asked the guy at the checkout stand how much to feed a chicken. He said about a quarter pound per day. I got a ten pound bag for $5, so that’s 40 days of chicken food. That makes chickens a far more economical pet than cats or dogs. Since then, I’ve been feeding Fred and she has been eating. What’s more, she freaks out quite a bit less than she used to. But we still have a long way to go.
We’ll have to see how things proceed. It may be that once Fred gets back to a normal weight, she will abandon me. But overall, she seems pretty happy. Some people have expressed concerns that Fred might be attacked by another animal. That’s possible, of course. But I don’t think there is a great concern. A cat went after her one of the first days Fred was here. Fred tore off after that cat who hasn’t been back. I think that Fred will be fine.
That should be “Fred Henhouse.”