Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.
Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.

My Love Affair With a Chicken

At first, the thought of having a house chicken scared me. How will I keep her and the house clean? Will it smell? Can I give her enough attention with my busy schedule? Will she be safe with the dogs and cats? Where will she sleep? Born with only one usable leg and having lived in the barnyard for two years, Peggy needed a softer environment, so into the house she came. It took us a while to figure things out, but eventually, we fell into a pretty doable rhythm.

All the dogs got along very well with her. Our two big dogs, Socks and Lakota, cannot be trusted alone with her but were very accommodating to her as long as I am around. Our two smaller dogs, Bingo and Little One can be trusted with her unattended and have often shared a sunny spot in the yard together. The cats and our Goffin Parrot cohabitate with her just fine. After trying several different kinds of pillows and beds, Peggy is most comfortable on a large round dog bed with a puppy pad. On rainy days she eats in the kitchen, and on warm days she eats outside surrounded by many little bird friends who she is happy to share with. We tried having her sleep in our bedrooms, but I wasn’t too keen on having her together with all the dogs while I was asleep, and my daughter keeps the television on till late at night which kept Peggy up later than she should be. So we finally arranged a spot next to our parrot, Zazu’s house and the two of them keep each other company through the night. Now that we have fallen into an easy rhythm, life with a house chicken is great!

Peggy is like one of the dogs, just with feathers. She chirps when the dogs bark, watches television in our laps, falls asleep in our arms, shares food with us, loves popcorn and peanut butter sandwiches, wants to know everything that is going on and never misses a beat, sits next to my desk while I work along with the dogs, has a lovely voice, and talks to us when we enter the room. My favorite is when I wake Peggy and Zazu up in the morning and sing good morning songs; Peggy always sings with me! We have even taken Peggy out with us many times. She loves riding in the car and looking out the window. When we get to where we are going, she loves meeting people and making new friends. On Sundays, Peggy goes out to the barnyard with her docent to be an ambassador, opening hearts to the magic of chickens. She gets acupuncture weekly to keep her hopping and strong.

These rules that we have created in our society that we love dogs but eat chickens, that cows are unintelligent but cats are smart, that turkeys are dumb but horses are worthy, are absurd! These stereotypes are so easy to believe because farm animals are kept outside our neighborhoods, surrounded by fences and full of fear. But when we bring them inside our communities, or better yet, inside our houses, we find out that we are all the same on the inside, even though we each look different on the outside. Haven’t we figured that out when it comes to people: white or black, man or woman, gay or straight? Isn’t it time that we apply those principles towards animals already?! My little Peggy is as affectionate, intelligent, loving, and active in our household as anyone else in it, and I would do anything to keep her happy!

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The Dr. Praeger’s team is excited to be the Gentle 12 sponsor for July. At Dr. Praeger's, we strive to help people adopt better eating habits by offering a variety of delicious veggie-forward products. We support Gentle Barn’s mission of kindness and compassion to animals, one another and the planet. – Dr. Praeger’s Team