Something I hear a lot, “Sooooo, what’s up with your thing about chickens?”

Hey, don’t get me started! A family pet that produces healthy food, provides relaxation, good work ethic, amusement, artistic inspiration and even affection. That’s my ladies, my chickens.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've only been keeping chickens for about two years now and I've tried to decide why I like them so much. It could be the eggs, which are so delicious that any time I end up buying eggs from the grocery store, my kids can tell the difference and voice their opinions loudly. It could be their personalities. I love watching them and their little chicken lives, their squabbles and mannerisms provide hours of entertainment for my family. It could be that I find caring for their needs and watching my boys learn to take care of them a basic and down to earth work that is fulfilling and grounding. It could just be the sheer beauty of these birds; the way their feathers change color in the light, the lovely matte colors of their egg shells, the expressiveness of their faces or just a tilt of the head. I love the range of noises they make. I love how silly they can be. I love that they balance out the estrogen in my boy-heavy family. I don’t feel quite as alone knowing I've got eight ladies out in the backyard, doing their chicken woman thing.

I love my oldest hen, Belinda. She’s gentle and quiet and lays green eggs. She lets the boys carry her around like a baby. Belinda has one bad eye, just like I do. We’re simpatico.

 I love the head hen. Her name is Miss Piggy. She’s almost as old as Belinda, but she is the undefeated queen and she won’t let anyone forget it. We named her Miss Piggy because she is a pig when it comes to food and a diva when it comes to her place in the coop. Her eggs are gigantic. I don’t know how she does it. If she was a person she’d be like one of those Mormon pioneer women who pushed a handcart to Utah while birthing twins and then built her own house because her husband had died on the way or something like that.

I really miss my Polish, Beyonce', who died a few months ago. She had a glorious head of feathers and I thought it would be fun to take some fashion inspiration from her in a painting. This started a whole series of women and birds that I like to pretend has super deep meaning about how we pattern our beauty after the beauty in nature, and blah, blah, blah.

I am also reminded that this love for chickens runs in the family. My Grandpa Holt obtained a diploma from a two year correspondence course from the American Poultry School and went on to win prizes for his beautiful hens at the Utah State Fair. By the time I have memories of my Grandpa, he was no longer keeping chickens and I didn't know this about him until he had passed on. It doesn't surprise me. We shared the same delight in the things of nature and an appreciation for all things useful and beautiful at the same time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 My mom tells me I was born in the wrong time. I don’t think so.  I enjoy the fact that my ladies are a recreational choice, not a survival necessity. I’m glad that I can spend my time watching them and painting them rather than cooking over a wood stove for up to 8 hours a day. Maybe if I had to have chickens I wouldn't love them so much. I don’t know, maybe I would. After all, they are so fantastic.                                               I share this passion with many serious backyard chicken keepers, so I know I’m not totally strange. Well, maybe the paintings push it over the edge. But at least I won’t ever be purchasing these. I promise!


What about you? Do people ask you what’s up with your thing about _____________ and why do you feel that way about it?

The Chicken Chick