CHICKENENVY: A condition which causes the sufferer to experience feelings of jealousy or covetousness over the chickens of another farmer, usually due to the breed’s feathers or egg colors.
Charming Friends, I think it is time I admit that I suffer from this terrible condition. I have for months now. Please don’t misunderstand. I adore my own brood. They are a lovely bunch of girls. But when I first got into chickens, I didn’t really know what I was doing. Or for that matter, what I was getting. Charming Hal just went to the feed store and picked up two dozen good laying hens – bright,but plain, Rhode Island Reds – and surprised me for Mother’s Day.
I wish I had done it like my friend, Barbara. In the spring when the feed store got in their spring chicks, she hand picked a variety based primarily on color and beauty. Her barnyard is a chicken-lover’s delight and her egg basket looks like an Easter basket.
My condition has worsened since I stared blogging and reading chicken blogs. The very people who are writing words of wisdom and support for other chicken farmers are unknowingly exacerbating my already fragile condition. Every time I log on, I am faced with photos of hens more exotic, more appealing, dare I say, more Charming, than my own lovely ladies.
Oh why! Oh why! Didn’t I get some of these
Or a beauty like this one
As it is, my barnyard is not without color. In addition to my cheerful looking Rhode Island Reds, I have comical Polish, regal black australorps, and this funny guy…
He’s a Polish rooster – I think. But when I decided recently to add a few hens to the flock in order to increase egg production, I saw it as my big chance to add even more diversity and beauty to our Charming coop.
I knew I didn’t want to incubate any eggs and brooder a bunch of new chicks this time of year. So, I began to shop local sources and Craigslist. Let me tell you, Charming Friends, it was slim pickins’ for chickens. Everything I found was either over-priced or too old or too far away. It took several days, but finally I found what I was looking for – young laying hens, in good health at a reasonable price. There was only one problem. This is what they looked like…
But since we were down to barely enough eggs to supply our family’s daily needs – not to mention grandparents and friends- I decided chicken beggars could not be chicken choosers. I reluctantly brought four of these ladies home and introduced them to the rest of the gals.
And you know what? They are wonderful chickens. They are prolific layers, friendly, and much to my surprise, they actually add to the aesthetic beauty of the barnyard.
I’ve come to realize there is a beautiful simplicity about a plain white chicken. Mingled with the rest of the flock or standing alone against our old red barn, these gals give a classic old-homestead look to the place, that my fancier chickens could never pull off.
There stark whiteness stands in striking contrast to the red barn, the green grass, the orange leaves, and to the black and red chickens who are now their flock mates. They make everything that was lovely about our farm, even lovelier.
They are, in a word, Charming.
So welcome, ladies. We are glad you are here. Thanks for brightening up the place!