MAGIC, THE CHICKEN

Ladies and gentleman! I present to you Magic! The chicken! I’ll explain the name later.

Now, if you don’t have chickens or know much about them, I am here to tell you they are strange and wonderful and unpredictable. They do, after all, share DNA with dinosaurs. This little tidbit caused me to shift in my computer chair every time that thought crossed my mind, but now I’ve gotten used to it. My mind screamed Raptor, Raptor! Which is all the fault of the movie Jurassic Park, right?

We got chickens so we’d have fresh eggs to eat. We bought baby girl chickens, each a different breed. This has turned out well for the most part. One of our girls who we named Liz is interesting. At one and a half years old, she began emitting throaty noises at dawn. I wondered if she’d taken up smoking since her voice had become low and raspy. Eventually we realized she was doing her best to crow. Is Liz is a lesbian? She lays nice eggs and we’re not calling in a chicken psychologist or anything. I don’t think she is conflicted and seems okay with her identity. No worries. Meet Liz.

The molting of chickens a challenge is. (Yoda said that) It’s when they lose their feathers in sketchy places and look like chickens who’ve crossed the road. I guess it’s some form of renewal, but we do feel bad for them for a short time. Then we get mad at them since they don’t lay eggs whilst going through the molt. No matter how many articles I’ve read, my chickens don’t line up with any normal molting schedules. No, these chickens molt for fun or for some other reason I completely don’t get. Most chickens molt twice or once a year. I am not even going to show you a picture of a molting chicken, but I will introduce you to Henny Penny who takes good care of herself. A poster girl. Showy and white, but our most skittish chicken who looks nervously up at the sky a lot. Shoulda named her Chicken Little.

Aunt Corinne, one of my farming relatives, thoroughly stumped, told me “Why, I’ve never heard of naming chickens.” Just because we included their photos and sent their love along with ours on our Christmas cards seemed to perplex her. Myself I envision a row of tiny urns lining the mantel when our chickens have left this earth. Meet Rock Star, (Roxy).

We saved her life after an excitable puppy nailed her. She was on her back kicking, unable to get up when we found her. She lived inside with us in the TV room on a heating pad in the dark for a few days breathing unevenly. One morning, much to our relief, we discovered Roxy up and at ‘em. These days Rock Star is the friendliest and tamest. Does she know we saved her? I think so. Then there is Dippy.


Dippy so named for “dippy eggs” which are something the lovely English do with their lovely eggs. And of course dippy eggs are set in special lovely pedestals for serving. Lovely “little soldiers” must be created from pieces of toast to dip, etc. It’s a perfect example of the lovely English being English. And I mean that in a GOOD and lovely way. Next chicken on board would be Legs.

Legs is named after my mother whose nickname was “Legs.” A Buff Orpington is our “Legs”. I love her honey-gold color. My husband and I were told chickens are great for keeping flies under control. We believe everything we’re told. Two days ago he watched Legs endeavor to make a hit on a fly. Failing at an attempt to hurry, she waddled toward the fly, stumbled, and missed by a long shot. “She is too fat,” I told him. Which she is because we feed them obsessively even when we try not to. They look so cute and happy when chowing down. Peck peck! Scratch scratch! Okay, here is Zsa Zsa.

My web designer put a picture of Zsa Zsa on my site. So you’ve seen her if you ever clicked on the “contact me” place on my home page. Hmm, her name. This may be cryptic, but there is book out there called “Captain Underpants and The Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants.” Code is involved. Name changing is the outcome of working the code. Long story short, my name is Zsa Zsa Gizzard-chunks according to the Professor. And since I have floppy moppy hair, someone named this chicken Zsa Zsa. You can bet it was NOT me. She can’t see very well through her doo and is easily confused. Enough of that. Next up is O.P. 201

Good ol’ O.P. 201 happens to be named after a certain form used by FedEx Ground delivery drivers. Don’t ask.

Another responsibility as chicken owners is dusting their butts, called “vents” in chicken language, with bug powder to keep their bottoms healthy. Catching chickens can be an event in itself. Once caught, the catcher turns the chicken, well, bottoms up and the duster shakes the powder on. Pollyanna and husband Andy, stalked them down, then the lovely Andy (English guy) manipulated rear ends into position for Doctor Steve to medicate. Kinda weird. But, hey, somebody’s got to do it.

During “The Time of Molt” (sounds sort of important or holy when put that way) we’ve  almost given in to despair. They’ll never lay again. How can this be, they’re only two years old? What’s WRONG with them? AND THEN . . . .

On a certain morning a chicken appeared from nowhere. Lo and behold, at the appearance of this chicken our own chickens started laying eggs once more. We’d been sent a magic chicken. She remains magic to this day. Here is a picture of Magic,
watching from one of her hide-outs, doing her thing.

Comments

  1. Oh my, my, my, Suzeeana! (sung to the tune of “My, my, my Delilah”.) You are a sucha the duzeeana of a girl. This story is the best one yet! How can one girl be so weird? And so interesting! And so entertaining? I am yet at the edge of my seat in awesome wonder! I am inspired by the words penned by E.B. White:

    “Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.”

    That’d be you! I am also reminded of “Mommy, mommy, chicken mommy?” – The Adventures of Milo and Otis and the day Gloria, the hen’s chick was born.

    The chickens on your farm are of course amazing. Thanks for sharing! HA ah :D. I am laughing to myself in sheer, ecstatic delight. One need know you to understand just how magical, Magic, the chicken, REALLY IS! God did it because he knew YOU would notice …. and write about it for all the world to see just what an awesome creator we have. I am sooooo thrilled right now. This is a story that needs be in a book on the shelves of a bookstore with pictures galore of the greatest collection of chuckling chickens ever to grace the Branch Ranch. Jeeez, Suuuz, what WILL you think of next?

    • mindi

      i know for a fact that you are the one i want to write my obituary if i go first!!

      you come up with the most outrageously ridiculous compliments for me. it humbles my heart to pieces.

      i love how you love me
      suzee B

    • janella, you need to come visit me, you KNOW!

      how long must i wait? and charla has to come with you.

      you can MEET THE CHICKENS!!!!

      and find MAGIC!!!!

      love
      suzee B

  2. I love the stories of the chickens! They look so healthy in the pictures – they do you proud. How cool is the “Magic”!

    I had to smile at the chicken catching photo – Polly looks so serious!

    I guess you haven’t told “you-know-who” about Lesbian Liz?!! I don’t think it would go down too well!!!

    Love you,

    Vanessa

    • dear vanessa (lovely vanessa, heh heh)

      actually, i think i may have told you-know-who about her namesake trying to crow. maybe i wrote it in a card to be safe!

      yes, polly takes the catching of chickens VERY seriously!
      as she should . . .

      thanks for taking the time to comment, i love it

      and you
      suzee B

  3. Once again…a love story! You, my SNU, are amazing. Love this story and will love sharing it! Keep ’em coming oh writer of many words!
    xoxo QoH Sway PS…I’ve met most of the chix, haven’t I??? Heh heh.

    • why yes, sway, i believe so, except for MAGIC! and she’d like to meet you, too.

      your mission, should you choose to accept it is to tell 50 friends to check out my blog site!

      my editor is editing and one of these days my book will be out.

      word of mouth, my darling, word of mouth.

      love
      SNU

  4. Suzee, One of my big dreams is to have chickens! I paint them, but since we live in the country, it would be perfect! I need to get my husband on board, since I would like help with the “Vent” stuff and other unpleasant things that go along with them. Thanks for the very informative post!

    • dear mary

      tell your husband there is so much more to you than he ever dreamed and then just go BUY THE CHICKS!!!

      they are so incredibly entertaining.

      you’ll never regret it and neither will “he”

      love
      suzee B

  5. Loved the story, loved the pictures, love how you love them!! There are lots of unloved – but kept – animals in this world and it is soothing to see someone who is good to them and sees the miraculous in them. love you Suzee, Jean

    • jeano

      means a lot to me knowing you’re on board . . . out there reading my blogs, keeping in touch and sending me encouraging words.

      thank you more than you know

      love
      suz

  6. I love your chicken story!
    I tried to pick a favorite chicken, but they are all too beautiful. I don’t think I ever knew ckickens were beautiful.(but I did know cats can spit)
    I’m just wondering why all the comments are timed between 6:30 and 8:30 pm and its 1:52 pm here. Is Montana in another world?

    Love,
    Laurie

    • dear laurie

      i look so forward to learning more information from you such as the fact that cats can spit! these are the interesting facts of life so long overlooked. i am counting on you.

      chickens are comedians . . . each with their own schtick.

      but my husband and i anthropomorphize animals to a ridiculous degree anyway.

      as for montana being in another world? possibly. i should take note and get back to you on that.

      i’m glad you like my chickens

      love
      suzee B

  7. Well, I have to agree with Aunt Corinne when it comes to the chicken urns… but the photos are great and you could not get that close unless you are “close”; if you catch my meaning.

    I had a chicken turn rooster once too, but I think it was frostbite rather than molt that forced the issue. Hanging out on a nice warm nest beat the heck out of strutting around the snowy yard in the cold. Of course having a small child swing you around by your one and only leg could cause an egg to pop out of most fence-sitting, frostbitten, West “by-God” Virginian rooster, don’t ya think!

    loved the story, keep ’em comming

    Tita

    • tita

      so refreshing to post your singular voice on my blog.

      you are “ruby” from the movie “cold mountain” and i write this for other blog examiners to muse upon.

      i’ll keep my blogs coming as long as you keep your comments coming, darlin’

      love
      suzee B

    • b. boop

      i love my chicken story, too. because they deserve being recognized. funny chickens, funny funny chickens!

      thank you for acknowledging the little strange-oids. they are taking a bow!

      love
      s.

    • jodi

      you may be a farm girl at heart. it gladdens my spirit that you read and comment . THANK YOU!

      love
      suzee B

  8. Well, I loved the chicken shots … great photos! Every one! And I loved the special relationship you seemed to have developed with all of them.

    And hey Laurie, I’ve noticed that time thing, too … I think somebody still has their clock set to daylight savings time in nineteen eighty three!

    Russ’ll

    • rusty

      indeed, whats not to appreciate about “the girls” cept that gwenn says their pictures will give her nightmares. tsk tsk.

      and i do not know what’s up with the time thing. the questions is . . . does it matter? i guess i’ll look into it if you think i should!

      love
      dreamcheese

  9. I opened this blog just before midnight and no matter how I love chickens – and you – I swear those close-up shots are going to give me nightmares tonight. Don’t know whose is scariest: Roxy or Dippy…I hear the jaws theme looking at them. As for the butt dusting. Wow. Years on a childhood farm and years raising chickens to feed Darin healthy food and I never once dusted a butt! Or heard of it. But I must say I love seeing the pictures. It’s a somber job…my sides ache from laughing at those three. That’ll be the antidote to ward off the nightmares. Zsa Zsa’s story reminds me a little of Winken’s. You do know how to tell a story my love. x o

    • oh gwenn, i understand since the chicken’s dinosaur relatives gave me pause, too. roxy likes to be petted. just think of her in those terms.

      hmmm, are you saying i not only resemble the poofy-headed bird but also an olde english sheepdog? yes, that is exactly what you are saying, knowing full well i take it as a supreme compliment.

      that’s what friends are for!

      love
      your suzee B

      • Actually, I was thinking about you having pets having pets with similarites over the decades. Winken, the dog, who could not see through his hair and was so easily confused, has reappeared in your life as Zsa Zsa, a chicken, who cannot see through her feathers and is easily confused. She rocks the looks though, so did Winken though. Hmm. I do enjoy your interpretation of my words…especially as an alignment with the blond boofy theme. Bimbo number one…or is it two? You know still the proudest friend moment of my life was when I out bimboed the Bimbo. Ah Briland…how I miss letting go of my brain like I do there. xxxooo

        • okay, strawberry duck forever,

          what exactly are you trying to convey in the first sentence? have i had pets who had pets? well, maybe, like if you are my pet which you are, and you have pets. like that? are you trying to out bimbo ME now??? and remind me what you may have performed brain-wise to out-bimbo the other bimbo???

          i have GREAT NEWS!! YOUR BRAIN IS WAITING FOR YOU IN THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE!!! you didn’t know you failed to retrieve the entire thing when last you left there. and does that surprise you???

          love
          the big B (bimbo #1 or #2?)

          • OMG, what a find example of bimbo writing I did there. I didn’t mean to repeat. Wow. No just your pets, my lovey. My out bimboing the bimbo example: when we got back to the mainland and I could not help rent the car and kept saying weird things to the rental agent, could not help you figure out how to get out of the airport when we finally got the car, and you had to do all the driving because nothing made sense to me – including what direction we were going! I thought north was south…remember. The ocean was supposed to be on the other side of us. Then Buddy played those “funny” phone messages when we landed at his house and I freaked and went to a hotel. Took me 2 days to come down as I recall. I think you’re right – and it’s not a surprise – a return to the Bermuda Tri-Angel is required to retrieve what I’ve left behind…in the turquoise waters. Or maybe under some sea glass.

          • oh THAT!!!
            yes, you were definitely whacked. now i remember, but i thought you meant the OTHER bimbo, ha! ha!

            you who are always so in control…Lovey Dovey was showing YOU a thing or two me thinks.

            this comment is spose to be under the following comment from you. i wonder where it’ll go?

            maybe you brain is with sponge bob and squidward?

            love
            big B

  10. Oh my gosh, what great photos and a great post! It’s fun to meet your “brood”! 🙂 Gorgeous chickens, all. No spring chickens, tho…

  11. Oh my Suzette you have done it again – taken a family of chickens and made them beautiful and memorable – I will never look at a chicken the same way again! Your photography amazes me as well as your words – how and when did you amass so much incredible talent? Ah I look forward to your words of magic (including Magic the Chicken!) – how Helen must be smiling down at her Suzie! And Kit too. You make us all smile Suz and take us down paths our busy worlds don’t usually allow. Thank you for that.

    Hi to Laura Lee – many fond memories on 27th street!

    Love you mucho!

    • thank you soooooooooo much, jillzy.

      you can’t know what your kind of encouragement means to me. or, well, maybe you can and that’s why you take the time to do it.

      much much love
      suzee B

  12. I love you because I get you because I love you because I … I … I am speechless? I take the obituary writing assignment very seriously. What an honor! Should that time ever come, which I doubt, I will write on your behalf, with great gladness and great sadness of heart. But let’s leave that on the back burner at a very low boil. You keep writing as long as you have breath, OK? I am SO blessed knowing you. You so amaze me that my eyes have to close, my mouth has to smile and my head tilts on its axis whenever I think of — endearing — you!

    Write on,

    Mindi

    • mindi

      could you take a picture of yourself looking like that with the tilted head, the smile and the closed eyes?
      could you put some glitter on those closed eyelids, you ambassador of rainbow light, you.

      love
      suzee B

  13. Dear Suzzee,

    In my saddest hours you can lift my heart. Thanks so much for the chicken story’s and the best photos . If you were a chicken I would have to call you – Good Medicine chicken –

    Loving your tender heart, Earle

    • thank you, earle, for letting your heart BE lifted.
      that means you have hope to hold onto.
      don’t let go!

      love to you, faithful friend
      Good Medicine chicken (WOW WOW WOW and OH BOY, a new nickname!!!!)

  14. Who took the pics. Just like they should be. Up close. Lots of people get too far away.
    Told anybody about the carnivorous side of chickens. Goes along with dinasours DNA history?! Maybe you haven’t seen that side of them. They can be great mousers and molers. Wendy even feeds them scraps of meat occasionally. And I do believe they keep the inscects down. We have never powdered their rears though? You’ll have to let me know more about that.
    Great entertainment they are. Wendy has always at least one that is especially friendly. A pet. One now always perches on her recliner she lives on outside. She even has to put the chicken in the coop every night! The others just put themselves to bed.
    Now geese, that is a whole nother story.

    • mr. mickey
      me and steve took the pictures 🙂
      i was just thinkin’ bout you and your airplane.
      i didn’t mention the carnivorous side, no, i forgot. i don’t like thinking about it. i like to pretend they are vegetarians!
      the chicken man in manhattan said to dust their bottoms for coop lice every 6 months. we saw some only one time on one chicken butt.

      yes, of course wendy has a pet chicken. wendy has a pet everything, MAYBE EVEN YOU! ever think about THAT?!!!

      geese are for sure another story, but i think one likes you a lot, right?

      love
      suzee B

  15. How long did you spend in the chicken yard to get those amazing pictures? And on eye level with them? Is that why you know their personalities inside out?

    • dear regi

      took about 45 minutes to get good pictures.
      and i am happy with them these days since they are laying again.

      we know their personalities from watching them instead of TV!

      love
      suzee B

  16. how long did you spend in the chicken yard to get those amazing pictures? And on eye level with them? Is that why you know their personalities inside out?

  17. Your chickens are spoiled rotten and fat and have no obvious motivation to do anything for YOU! And if they decide to lay eggs its because they would be uncomfortable if they didnt. I think they just like playing mind games with you and Steve as revenge for butt dusting!! I realise they are good looking ( most of the year) yet indeed are wicked and someday you should eat them! All except for ZSa Zsa…because I love her and so does Bowie…in her case, almost to death!! Eek!
    Hisssssssssssssssssssssss

    • so polly

      tell mammy how you REALLY feel about my chickens>you are merely jealous. you’ve always been a jealous child over my affections toward any other being besides yourself. hissssssssssss!

      oh, uncomfortable because they didn’t. ha ha! that is actually pretty funny but i just now got it. they’d feel constipated by eggs if they don’t lay ’em. you worded that insult cleverly my little chicken-fas. (another one of my nicknames for my child, readers)

      BUT do you really think they’d hold grudges over BUTT tampering?

      oh yes, i remember bowie trying to give zsa zsa a shampoo. right. zsa zsa almost drowned but her top knot was white again.

      good grief, enough of this. people will think we are really really weird. nahhhhhhh

      love
      yo mama

  18. Oh Suzee,

    Your blog brings back so many memories of when Ronald and I raised chickens in Texas. At one time we had 75!!Yikes. That’s a lot of chicken you know what! We had some exotic varieties as well and they all had names (which I can’t remember, except Fog Horn Leghorn–not very original). The eggs were the best and I even had my own little egg route. Chickens are amazing little creatures ; wish I could relay the stories I once had of them. Unfortunately, I remember an unusually rainny hot summer Texas., When the bird dogs broke into the chicken yard and killed a few. Ronald was away for 6 weeks so there I was digging shallow chicken graves, then the heavy rain came and all the dead chickens floated to the surface. What a mess and what a memory! My stories aren’t as good as yours .

    I’ll leave the story telling to you!

    Valerie

    • dear valerie

      OH NO! too shallow were the graves! yes, i suppose if one has 75 chickens with a husband who is away weeks or months at a time, a little farm frau would be bound to fall upon hard-chicken-times. sniff sniff.

      all 75 had names??????? heavens to mergatroid!

      i can see you on your egg route. you’d be CUTE!

      love
      suzee B

  19. Ok…first of all, me reading about chickens, is akin to you reading about the latest economic stimulus package soon to be unleashed from our massive federal government…..but I was more rapt with every line!!

    However, I don’t believe you. So did Magic bring with her fantastic fairy fertility dust???? Or, more likely, all the other girls just wanted to strut their stuff with the appearance of a new young chic on the scene? Please advise your with chicken knowledge.

    • oh but teresa

      somethings are just too mysterious to delve into.
      sorry!
      make up your own theory, and have fun with that by the way . . .
      love
      zsa zsa

      p.s. i am PROUD of you for sticking with the chicken read. can you imagine me hanging in there reading anything about economic anything???

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