Most people ate turkey on Thanksgiving. Us? We came home from the holiday feast with a live chicken.
Last May, our older chickens went into Urban Chicken Retirement at my Uncle Joe’s farm in Maple Valley. We’ve taken our aging flocks there in the past, where they nibble away their golden years in wide sun-dappled meadows with horses as friends. This year, since our chickens came to the farm, Joe has lost two cats and three of our four chickens, presumably to coyotes! When we arrived for Thanksgiving festivities, we learned that the only chicken left happened to be our favorite-ever chicken, Marigold the Buff Orpington (of the famous Chicken Walk). She was doing what any of us would do after seeing our colleagues picked off one by one by a toothed predator–she was hiding in a box in the barn, and hardly ever came out.
Poor Marigold! We didn’t think twice–we picked her up, dusty barn-box and all, and took her home.
It took a few days for everyone to work out the new pecking order, and we watched over them carefully as Marigold integrated with the existing flock, but now they are happy together, and Marigold is back to her old tricks. She’s taught the other chickens how to climb up on the porch and peck at the back door for attention.
Urban chicken keeping is great for fresh eggs, sure, but sometimes it’s just a matter of the heart. Welcome home Marigold.