As the babies roosted on my legs this morning I thought, “Chickens. You’re chickens! That’s so strange.”

There’s a disconnect between the idea of someone having chickens and actually having pet chickens.  It’s difficult to describe.  An example is the only thing that comes to mind: I was recently at a continuing education training and heard a woman across the room talking about her chickens.  I could hardly wait until break time.  After stumbling over my eavesdropping confession, I told her we also had chickens.  She was excited but then seemed to draw back.  She hesitantly said, “Um, my chickens are mostly pets.  I mean, I go home from work and talk to them.  They sit on my lap.”  She was relieved when I told her my chickens were also pets.  As we talked about how much we love our chickens and how people usually don’t understand how they can be friendly pets, another woman walked over and enthusiastically told us she used to have pet chickens.  It was like we were all in on a delightful secret.  The last place I thought I’d meet people with pet chickens was in FEMA’s historical & environmental policy compliance course.

Extending the disconnect: I told the woman in the class about our rooster.  She looked concerned, so the hatchery mistake was explained.  She said something about understanding our sad situation.  At that moment, I realized there is a very special chicken-keeping club.  Life with chickens isn’t quite the same as life with hens and a rooster.  I told her we wouldn’t trade him for anything and I think she understood that the pet chicken secret has another level.


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