"I’m bringing one of my chickens to Manhattan tomorrow, to be on an episode of “The Martha Stewart Show,” which Martha—a celebrated chicken keeper herself—is devoting to the subject of backyard chickens. My chickens are not seasoned travellers (note to self: maybe don’t use the word “seasoned” when talking about pet chickens?) so I’ve been fretting about the whole enterprise, which will entail travelling two hours by car from my house to the city, and then several hours in the studio while we tape the show. For the last week or so, I’ve been auditioning to see which of my seven chickens would be the most camera-ready and most travel-friendly. My prettiest hen is Merry-Go-Round, a Silver-Laced Wyandotte—she’s plump and bosomy, covered with a craze of black and white stripes, and has a brilliant red wrinkly comb. She’d look great on television, but she’s bossy and noisy and given to little fits of temper; pass. Tweed and Mabel Black Label, my Araucanas, are somewhat antisocial; when I pick either of them up, they eye me with such deep suspicion that I feel like they can smell omelets on my breath. They’re probably not the right chickens for television. My little bantam, Tina Louise, is so fast and frantic that I’m not even sure I’d be able to catch her to put her in the car. Helen Reddy, my Rhode Island Red, is lovely, but she’s the lowest chicken in the social order of my coop, and I’m afraid if I take her away for a day she’d lose her position altogether.
My rooster Laura is so gorgeous that I’d love to show him off, and for a moment I thought of making him the star. This is a bit of vanity on my part. Most sane people are a little afraid of roosters. Even though they’re not that big, they can pack quite a punch. I have to handle Laura frequently (for instance, I spent a few evenings this winter massaging Vaseline into his comb, to ward off frostbite) and I’ve started fancying myself a bit of a chicken whisperer since he usually lets me pick him up and hold him without incident. The other day, I held him in my arms and started talking to him about the trip, and he was as relaxed as a lapdog. I went back to the house and returned to the coop a few minutes later; this time he chased me into the corner, slapped me with his wings, and tried to kill me. Chastened, I scratched him as my entry. I’ve finally decided to bring my sweet hen Tookie, the oldest of my chickens, the only one of my original four who is still around. She’ll get a bag of corn for her efforts—and residuals, of course. " by Susan Orlean
(Photograph: Tookie, left, and her late sister Beauty.)
Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/susanorlean/2010/03/chicken-tv.html#ixzz0kKRSXYC9