A Good Old Age

I was thinking about it the other day, and I’ve been writing this blog about farming for nearly two years now and have yet to mention the most humble of barnyard creatures. But the time is nigh, specifically the next paragraph. 

I’m talking about chickens. Chickens are paradoxical creatures, being astonishingly helpless and yet nearly indestructible in their own way. For instance, we have a chicken, Quigley, who is ten years old, which in chicken years means she’s as old as Methuselah (who in biblical years lived to 969, which means Methuselah likely pulled a Betty White and somewhere in the desert sands there is an undiscovered stone tablet edition of People Magazine that says “Methuselah turns 1000!”). 

Chickens best defense mechanism has been palling up with humans who are willing to build elaborate and highly priced fortifications in exchange for calcified embryos. On the one hand, it may seem like a poor business decision on the chickens’ part, given jumbo size eggs are ejected frequently out of a small orifice and often the human fortifications are hardly predator proof, especially if an English major built it. On the other hand, if you’re going to die, you might as well die in style, living in a grand gated community with a penthouse hen house, i.e a chicken run with elevated roosts.  

Quigley endears herself to us in other ways than egg laying (she quit laying eggs after two years). Namely, she’s the tamest chicken I’ve ever seen. She’ll come right up to your legs and softly nuzzle you with her beak until you pick her up and hold her. She is the last remaining member of our original flock that got babied and pampered as chicks and lived in a Rubbermaid tote on our back porch. With subsequent flocks, we’ve grown less attentive, which is why most of our current flock are about as tame as feathered dinosaurs. Quigley has outlived all her friends and family. Her best friend Charlie died about five years ago to natural causes, then Perla dropped dead, then Penfold and Andy got killed by a neighbor’s dog. And since Thomas was born, her chicken keepers don’t get around to giving her as much attention or chicken treats as they used to. But still she survives. I don’t think she likes her new flock mates, but to be honest, neither do I. They’re different, just wild nameless chickens if I’m being honest. But Quigley is a chicken worthy of a name. May her feathers fluff for many years to come!

Quigley and Natalie ten years apart.
Quigley and her best friend, Charlie.

18 thoughts on “A Good Old Age

      1. I’m not sure what happened. I think something is not jiving with WordPress reader. Do they come up if you go directly to website: misfitfarmer.com?

  1. Did you name her after Carol Quigley, author of ‘Tragedy and Hope’ and ‘The Anglo-American Establishment’? That could be why she’s living so long, those are classics!

    1. No, I think my wife just named her Quigley cause she is a Tom Seleck fan. But I googled Carol Quigley and illuminati came up, Definitely sounds like it would be an interesting read.

      1. There now, both on the home page and on this post. Looks like uploading again at 2:48 AM did the trick.

        Glad the pix are there now. The double portrait at the end is a classic.

  2. Ours, Dublin, is turning six this spring. She tolerates the newer chickens, and she’s not as tame as Quigley, but the other day when we thought she’d gone blind we were prepared to set her up in the garage with a pen and warming lamp and stray kitten (I don’t know where we were going to get the kitten) because we’re rather attached to her…though she’s not laid an egg in God knows how long and her eggs were never the highest quality to begin with. But she’s our Dubby.

  3. Quigley, great name for a chicken.

    We call ’em chooks in these parts (Australia). Our two little Pekin bantams (last survivors of a flock of six) just keep on going and going. They’ve just turned 11. They arrived in the post 11 years ago as fertilised eggs. One of them, Mollie, is as vociferous, inquisitive and active as ever. She still pops out a couple of clutches of eggs in the early summer. Every once in a while she has a go at crowing. Most pathetic, weedy crow you ever heard.

    The other one, Minnie, was never quite right, to be honest, but stubbornly refuses to fall off the perch, and shuffles around, bossing Mollie whenever she gets within range. She doesn’t like windy weather because she gets blown over, being a spherical chook made mostly of fluff.

    1. Wow, 11 that’s impressive. Long live the chooks. Btw, my brother just got his dual citizenship in Australia (he lives in brisbane), so I guess now I’m officially related to an Australian.

      1. We just discovered that Mollie is laying again. So that’s what she’s been yelling about these past three mornings.
        Related to an Aussie? You must be very proud 😉
        Congrats to your brother!

    1. Hmm, I just re-uploaded them again, so maybe they’ll work this time. If not, I have no idea what to try. I’m uploading them from computer to media library.

Leave a Reply