Which came first? The chicken or the egg? In my case, it was the egg. We buy fresh eggs from our friend; his children raise chickens and sell the eggs. They put the proceeds into a college fund. I thought it would be enlightening to interview the layer of the egg… which brought me nose-to-beak with a pet chicken. Lucy is a one-year-old chicken who lives on a farm just outside of Fairmont.
Good morning Miss Lucy!
Good morning. It’s a pleasure to meet you Mrs. Hillmer.
The pleasure is all mine, Lucy. You have a lovely home here on the Moeller family farm.
Yes. It is nice. A bit cramped sometimes. There are 19 of us pet chickens here in the coop. Thankfully, we get along well. I am sure it is because we have law and order here in the barn.
I suppose you would need that with so many chickens in a small area. What kind of governance do you follow?
We are a friendly dictatorship. If I can be blunt…
I rule the roost. There needs to be a strong leader or things can get ugly really fast. Chickens can quickly turn into cannibals, you know. It would not be good.
Oh. No. It wouldn’t. And it wouldn’t be good for your owners, Josie and Jonah Moeller, since they rely on the eggs from your brood to “feather” their college fund.
“Feather their fund.” That was a cute play on words.
I try. Where are you from and how did you meet Josie and Jonah?
We’re from Bancroft, Iowa. The Moellers picked us up about a year ago, just hours after we hatched.
Jonah is the sweetest boy. Really he is. He was the first person to hold us on that ride home. I haven’t forgotten that.
We were a birthday gift for Josie. She and Jonah feed us, collect our eggs twice a day and take care of us. From the gossip I’ve heard around the barnyard, we’ve got it pretty good. Don’t tell Josie and Jonah though. We would like the pampering to continue.
What kind of pampering?
Well, we get a nice, fresh, ground corn mix every day. And we eat what we hunt of course…. Juicy bits of spiders, flies, ticks, and wasps. Oh dear, wasps are tasty! Have you tried one?
I can’t say that I have….
You really ought to. And then, every once in a while, Josie will bring us a strawberry-apple mixture that is just simply to die for! It is delicious. However, it does give us the runs. Nineteen pet chickens with diarrhea. You really only want to experience that once in your lifetime.
And, as a matter of principle, we just say no to drugs. No antibiotics. No hormones.
No drugs. That’s good. What about pebbles?
Oh yes. Of course we eat pebbles. We have to. You know we don’t have teeth. Our gizzards use pebbles to grind grains and fiber into smaller, more digestible pieces.
I don’t know much about chickens. This is really fascinating!
Well then, you probably didn’t take note of my gorgeous comb.
My comb! It’s this red thing on my head for goodness sakes! My comb is quite stunning, actually. It’s a ‘carnation’ comb. It’s so long that it actually covers one of my eyes.
Tell me a little bit more about your family, the Moellers.
Well, Josie and Jonah’s dad is Mark; he is a mailman in Fairmont, MN. I believe you are on his route. Their mom, Mark’s wife, Shelly, works in Early Childhood Special Needs. When they’re not working at their “day jobs,” Mark and Shelly tend to their farm. They grow corn and beans.
Josie is nine and Jonah is six. Josie’s grandfather, Berdean Moeller, calls her “The Chicken Lady” because she loves us pet chickens so much.
Can you tell me a secret about Josie?
Of course I can. But it won’t be a secret once I tell you.
Josie brings in word puzzles. She doesn’t tell anyone, but sometimes she asks us to help. She knows we’re pretty good at finding the words. We just peck around until we find what we’re looking for!
Jonah is our big protector. He traps skunks and other animals. He makes sure none are nearby before he opens the barn door to let us out. Otherwise, it could be ugly. Skunks like chicken for breakfast.
It sounds like Josie and Jonah really do take good care of you and your brood!
They do. And here’s another thing. We like it when Josie sings to us. We also like it when she and Jonah play the concertina and the piano. They’re very good musicians. Our favorite song is the “Porcupine Polka!” That’s a fun song. We do the polka quite well, you know.
I didn’t know that chickens polka! I do know that chickens cross the road though…
Oh, that is such a tired joke. Really. If you must tell a chicken joke, at least tell one that is more modern. Personally, I like this one: Why did the chicken cross the basketball court (which is a lot safer than a road, by the way)?
I give up. Why did the chicken cross the basketball court?
He heard the referee calling fowls.
That’s egg-cellent, Lucy!
Thank you. This has been a delightful conversation but I feel an egg coming on, so I really must get back to my nest.
That reminds me… how many eggs do you and your brood lay each day?
About 15 to 19… it all depends on our mood quite frankly. I like to say we’re a “moody broody.”
And one last question, what celebrity do you think you most resemble?
With my gorgeous red comb, I’m a dead ringer for Ann-Margret.