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Poetry Friday: A Bill Peet Picture Book

The Little Red Hen, and Other Chickens

IMG_0873 If you have come here very sensibly looking for children's literature information, I have a book for you: The Little Red Hen, by Paul Galdone. Esme Raji Codell recommended seeking out Galdone's versions of folk tales, and our family likes this one very much."...[T]he little red hen had to do all the housework," and her lazy housemates don't help out. We are always tickled at the illustration of the dog lying in a hammock and dreaming of bones.

In news of our own backyard chickens, Fuzzy the Hen is having some constitutional problems. Chickens need free-speech protection, too. Ha. Just kidding. Not that kind of Constitution. She is a wee bit under the weather, and it has been hard to figure out what is wrong exactly. She molted (lost her feathers) a few weeks ago, and is still missing a tail. Aside from the fact that she looks oddly abbreviated, that is not the problem.

I actually took Fuzzy to the vet, where she panted dramatically and flapped her wings in the face of the startled receptionist, who was attempting to weigh her. "I'm dying I'm dying you are trying to kill me I just know it!" I am used to the wing-flapping; it's like being caught up in the wind caused by a helicopter. Those wings can stretch out pretty big.

I left the vet with a hole in my pocket. I expected that. I once owned a sweet cat who was both asthmatic and diabetic; I know about holes in the pocket. Practical people do not take a chicken who cost all of $5 to the vet. Whatever.

So I am now giving Fuzzy a dropper-ful of medicine once a day. She does not care for it. Unless the liquid drops onto the ground and looks like something else. Oh, I see a slug! Maybe a worm! Then she'll sample the concoction. She may need some minor surgery. Braver chicken owners than I often perform the surgery themselves. Even the stitches. However, I will make peace with a hole in the other pocket before I do that.

Fuzzy's coop-mate, Lovey, is looking better than ever. We compliment her on her hair-do every day. All it took to restore the coif to its former lustrous glory was a molt. Cross your fingers that Fuzzy returns to her lustrous glory soon, too.

The photo of the two chickens was taken last summer.


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I'm tickled that you have a chicken named Fuzzy. I hope she gets her glossiness back. I suppose feeding her a raw egg would be a little twisted, eh? :)

She would eat a raw egg, Alkelda, but I give her scrambled or boiled, so that she doesn't develop a taste for what she's supposed to be giving us. Right now she's not laying while wresting with her ailments. Lovey isn't laying, either. I'm not sure what her excuse is.

Thanks, I'll check out Paul Galdone's version. I have found that The Little Red Hen makes for a perfect classroom or family photo book. I am in the process of making one for my four year old daughter's class. It is so easy to take the pictures and retell the story using people you know. (i.e. "Who will help me bake the bread?" asked Jordan. "Not I," said Mommy. Not I," said Daddy...)

That is a fun way to do it! A photo book is a creative idea.

Another good, somewhat different version is Philemon Sturges's "Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza." We took that one to my son's class when he was a preschooler, and made English muffin pizzas to go with the story.

Get well wishes for Fuzzy, and *small* pocket hole wishes for you, Susan! With a rather larger flock, I've had to do a lot of home doctoring, but the high (or low...) point had to be administering Preparation H to a hen with a blowout. Dear me, NYC never felt so far away.

By the way, some extra protein (leftover cottage cheese or a handful of cat food is good) is always handy during the month or two of molting season, and something different might perk her up too!

You've given me a good early morning laugh, what with the "constitutional" problems and the pocket holes. (Been there, done that: epileptic dog.) You gotta do right by your chickens, but I think it's okay that you've drawn the line at home surgeries.

Ooh, I'm with Mary Lee: just say no to home surgery. My Dad is good with that kind of thing; when I have chickens of my own, that will be a big NO.

And when they're molting, I would give them a little something extra, too. We avoided the cat food because... the cat got ticked off when they went after her food when they weren't molting, but cottage cheese and boiled eggs, yes. They liked lentils, actually, too... which makes sense, since they're full of protein!

Hope all's well in the coop -- and the pocket -- soon. You're a righteous hen (Chicken Mama? something) for taking care of them even when it costs you.

Thanks for the good wishes, Becky, Mary Lee, and TadMack. Fuzzy seems to be better--better enough to scold poor Lovey with a peck on the head. Always some kind of drama going on with chickens...

Becky, that is hilarious about the hen and the Prep. H.

I would take my chicken to the vet. I hope Fuzzy's back to rights soon.

Me, too, Adrienne. She is perkier. Thanks for the well wishes.

Hey, Sue, don't worry about the lack of eggs. It's just the molting and the ever shorter hours of daylight. We're only getting 1-3 a day from our current flock of 12 or so.

Meechelle! Ou et vous? Les Etats Unis? Oh, that's to know good about the eggs. I think Fuzzy is better; Jr. and I gave her worm meds.

Your blog just went up on my coolness scale (and you were pretty high anyway) because I just realized you have chickens of the real live variety. My hubby and I want to get a house where the zoning allows us to keep chickens.

Anyway I hope by now that your chicken is feeling much better and the hole in your pocket is not to big.

Cari, oh, definitely try to get some chickens when you can. They're so much fun--and very funny. My two aren't laying egg #1 right now. Freeloaders!

I'll keep you posted and let you know when we get some. We are looking and looking for a new house and that is one of your requirements. It is making the house hunting a little more difficult, but we hope worth it.

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