Thursday, August 06, 2009

Chicken of the Week: "Red"

We have 18 adult chickens, and "Chicken of the Week" is here to highlight a few of the most notable. Red, Uh-Oh Chicken, The Ladies, and Mama Orpo are curling their hair and trying out expressions in the mirror for their big upcoming photo shoots.

This week's chicken is our Rhode Island Red hen. She is red. Since we lack any imagination at all, we call her...Red.* We got Red from a local farmer when she was just a youth. She was one of our first chickens--the chicken house wasn't even finished yet when we brought her home. Amy and Red are good buddies; Red likes to ride around on Amy's shoulder. She (Red) likes to sleep in a weird spot: the ledge above the door of the chicken house. It wasn't designed as a roost, but Red roosts** there every night. Red is the smallest hen in the flock. It makes sense that she is small: Rhode Island Reds are among the most prolific breeds of backyard egg producers. So Red has been bred to put more of her caloric resources into producing eggs than into developing and maintaining a larger body. Thanks Red!

*Actually, see next week's Chicken of the Week for the real story on names.
** “Roost” is fancy chicken-farmer talk. Like the word “perch,” “roost” can either be a verb, or the noun on which that verb takes place. The only difference between the terms is that perching means just sitting there, while roosting means sitting there and sleeping. See? Fancy talk.

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