#6for30: Chicken Project and the Fear of Fowl

“The only thing to fear is fear itself” -FDR

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was gone for a summer, and somewhere during that summer, she got a phone call from a very excited Julia: “Oh by the way, Ken, Deborah and I have a new project-we decided to hatch a bunch of chickens.” And had Kendra realized how this decision would mark her next several years, she would’ve been even more alarmed. In fact, I think Julia and Deborah would’ve had scrambled eggs for breakfast had they had any clue. But we don’t see the future. Squawk and Chirp began their reign of terror.


photo by Sarah Witmer

My fear of fowl actually started years before. I’m not really sure when- but I remember a weekend assignment of checking the neighbor’s heavy weight tom turkeys. Mother grew up with free range turkeys and she was ready for duty. I, on the other hand, didn’t really know what I was up against. I thought I was going to be fine, but somehow I didn’t hear anything he said after the opening line “I don’t know this for sure, but I think these things would kill a small child”I  realized, at that point I was not that big of a child, and this was quite likely my last job assignment. My life flashed before my eyes and the farewell note that I left in their egg room has amused visitors ever since “These birds with their razor sharp beaks, long claws and their wings capable of beating at hurricane wind speed could seriously alter your life in a minute…” And as much as I hate to admit it- I truly was afraid. Petrified.

So anyhow the fact that my sister’s chicken project only produced 2 roosters seemed like a red flag to me- but they were so infatuated by the time I returned home- what could be done? I thought the problem would correct itself.

Instead it snowballed. These roosters hypnotized my dad. Soon he was dragging them all over the world in his pickup. They loved him. He loved them.

They shared mutual feelings with me too. We agreed to hate each other.

I don’t know how many hours we spent at the barn. These evil roosters and I, but I became an expert at combat. I’d back everywhere to try to avoid an attack. I carried a shovel at all times. We’d square off in the feed room. Squawk would dive in for the kill and I’d reroute the attack. I’d hit him with all my strength- but when a rooster is in mid air- all that power just sends him off course. He’d be right back at me again. And then he’d crow his head off and I’d hate my life. lol

Except it really wasn’t funny. I’m not used to being scared of things. Especially not a bird who’s brain is the size of a pea.


photo credit- Sarah Witmer

The only bright spot to this reign of terror, is the hysterical stories that emerged from this time. Like when Shen Valley Custom was here emptying our pit and Father had the one rooster “riding” on the pump tractor with him, and somehow the  bird got bored and left- and was soon spotted floating on a small island in our pit…

Or when Father was showing us a new trick he’d taught Squawk and the bird whipped his head around faster than you can say “Dumb Rooster” and tore a huge piece of skin off of Father’s upper lip…

But the truth is- more than the hilarity- my fear was like a storm cloud that continues to shows up from time to time.

Chickens show up randomly. I decided that I really did need to face my fears after two escapee chickens circled my van at a rest stop- and I could hardly get up the nerve to get in my vehicle… ok- that’s it! Time to take this in hand.


So here I am, the proud owner of 8 not so bright chickens. They arrived about 3 weeks ago and Mother graciously took care of them for me while I was away. Is it impossible to tame a chicken? They are as wild as a March hare. I tried to befriend them, but all visions of having a chicken friend have flown out the window. Like the roosters before- they hate me. But the difference is, I want to like them. So while you shouldn’t expect to see any pics of me cuddling with a feathered fowl, I’m discovering something with my little flock: They are scared to death of this big mean human with the loud voice that says “Good morning, chickens” every day and brings all you can eat chicken food. Maybe that was the problem all along- Maybe I misread the sheer terror of me, as pure meanness, and my dad’s roosters really were just scared big chickens.

Who am I kidding.They were horrid. But still…


What are your fears? Maybe if you explore them- you’ll discover that things aren’t quite the way you see them. One of my little stupid chicks even had the nerve to peck me- and shockingly- I didn’t lose the use of my hand, and I didn’t die. I’m pleasantly surprised. 🙂

May you find that it’s really not that big of a deal.



Bonus Pics:

I travelled last week. First we stopped by the Finger Lakes and enjoyed watching the snow fly on Sunday. What a beautiful farming area!  Am I the only one that thinks occasionally signs insult our intelligence? I drove down a very steep road to the public access at Lake Seneca. This sign heroically pointed out the difference in land and sea, I guess.



Canada… Definitely the highlight was spending a bit of time with the Diefenbachers. And I’ll be the first to admit- Canada is more beautiful than I gave it credit for. 🙂



4 thoughts on “#6for30: Chicken Project and the Fear of Fowl

  1. Had to comment, once I read your last sentence. =) Great story, hope you win your chickens over in short order…and that not all will be roosters.

  2. I laughed but, i can sympathize. Roosters scare me too so do mad bulls or dogs,and crazy fresh cows. Hope you make peace with your fowl feathered friends:)

  3. Pingback: #30for30 Recap | paradisemtnmusings

  4. Pingback: Grow Little Chickens Grow, Grow!! | paradisemtnmusings

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