Chickens on our farm have always been the lowly, replaceable stock. That sounds bad in a way, but truly it isn’t meant that way, its just that in the scheme of things, where I struggle to have enough food for my growing children and hard-working husband, chickens are pretty low on the totem pole. If they get sick, you dig a hole and bury them if they don’t get better. Hurt? You eat them. I have not really had the time to think a whole lot about a chicken hospital or quarantine pen, that is usually reserved (along with the energy used to care for sick stock) to the goats or pigs, who rate much higher on the food chain in quantity of provision and outlay of expenses. That is… until recently.
We have this hen, a little white americauna/mutt. She was given to us by a friend, along with a small flock of others. Not long after getting them I found this little hen with a bloody head and listless, she had been being pecked nearly to death by the other birds. I didn’t really want to mess with her, but my young son begged me to give her a chance, so I cleaned her up and chucked her in with the baby goats, far away from the other chickens. She healed and my son hand fed her every day. He named her Captain Munch.
Capt. Munch has been with us nearly 2 years now. This summer I was complaining because she is constantly in the garden and roosting in the barn instead of staying in the chicken area (where I had moved her after she healed and gained some size). I was telling my husband I was planning on culling any of the annoying birds that wouldn’t stay put when my son chimed in, tears in his voice… “You aren’t going to kill Munch… are you?” he plead. No, I am not going to kill Munch. That darned bird gets a free pass. My husband wants to use her in a “Chicken in Space” home video, she is my sons friend, and to be quite honest I like her company when I milk. So, each night, I pick Munch up and carry her to the coop, where she will promptly leave in the morning to raid my garden and nest in the hay in my goat barn. And so the story of how I became The Reluctant Chickenista.