I’ve got four hens. Their names are Betty White, Rue, Bea and Estelle. To most, they’re just cluck old hens except Rue who is still laying eggs. To me, they are “egg-septional”… sorry, I just couldn’t resist. Let me tell you why. Meet Betty White:
About three years ago, Betty was my friend George’s chicken at ‘Lil Farm. My friend was soon moving his entire operation and slaughtering all his laying hens before the move. Betty was one of about ten that George gave me to have out at my husband’s farm with the hens he had. In the near three years Betty lived on his farm, she did just that: LIVED! Most of the others in her flock could not say the same; foxes, owls and hawks picked off nearly every single one.
I wish I could see how she did it. Watching her in our backyard with my overly eager dog, I’d say she knows how to hold her ground. She charges at my 50 lb. mutt and stares him down until he runs off, tail between his legs. I have no doubts; she’d win if they ever got out of their fences.
Equally impressive as her courage is Betty’s sheer sense of compassion. Our housemate got some pullets last summer and kept them separate from the big gals… that’s how most folks do it. When I was farming, pullets would occasionally wind up in the big girls’ pen. Bad news… Their visit was always brief as dozens of full-grown laying hens were sure to peck them down and run them off… So our housemate’s chickens escaped their pen and wandered into the big girls’ coop. Pecking order was quickly established, but the young chicks stayed on living there happily. One mysteriously disappeared, but the other- Lulu- will soon be laying her own eggs.
At night, they all roost on top of their coop and brooding Betty is always sure to tuck no-longer-little Lulu under her wing. She even fends off the others if they get too feisty with Lulu.
Last week I joined three incredibly talented female musicians for a Women’s History Month writers in the round. We remind me a lot of my hens, especially Betty White. In a world where competition thrives rampantly, it was a true pleasure to share the stage with Melissa Swingle (a living legend in my book), Skylar Gudasz and Crystal Bright and bask in the spotlight of their brilliance.
Tour de Jour:
3/29– The LAB | Asheville, NC– $6
3/30– Foothills Brewing Co. | Winston Salem, NC
4/4– The Blue Plate Special | Knoxville, TN– Live at Noon on WDVX
4/4– Barley’s Taproom | Knoxville, TN
4/5– Green Heron Club | Danbury, NC