I am a poultryman for eight hens. These are urban chickens, kept in a sizable back yard run. In winter I wrap the greater part of the run in plastic sheeting in order to protect the chickens from cold winds and snow. This year, 2020, the wrapping activity coincided with the U.S. national election. Recognizing that I would now be able to talk to the chickens in private, I entered the run. “I could use some advice,” I confessed to the assembled flock.
“Wake up early if you want to get the worms,” advised a Golden Laced Wyandotte.
“If you’re a swan, never call a duck, Mom,” added a second.
“I’m thinking about the Presidential election here,” I interrupted.
“Birds of a feather flock together,” suggested a Black Australorp.
They huddled for a moment, then spread out to face me. “Okay, we’re game,” they squawked, cacophonously.
“Never vote for a candidate who puts his nest on his head instead of sitting on it,” proclaimed the Ameraucana.
“It’s just hair,” I said.
“That hair is dishonest,” insisted the Ameraucana.
“Isn’t his policy, ‘Me First’?” asked one of the Black Australorps.
“That’s ‘America First’,” I replied.
“He’s not been listening,” whispered one of the Barred Rocks.
“When the fox is skulking about, it’s imperative to be very still,” spoke up the second Barred Rock in an exaggerated, pedantic voice, “and listen.”
“Parasite,” sneezed the Ameraucana.
“Suddenly I’m thinking about a dust bath,” broke in a Wyandot.
“Dust bath.” “Me, too.” “Don’t push.” “Hey, you have the best dust!” “There’s plenty to go ‘round!” “All right, move over, though.” “Mmmm, this is good.” “You don’t have to splash me in the eye.” “Pardon me, deary.”
“Are you all through?” I asked, hand on hip. They looked at me, expressionless. One looked sheepish.
“Don’t do that!; it’s demeaning to your species,” scolded a Black Australorp. They all immediately became expressionless again.
“The thing is, the Democrats seem so completely untethered,” I resumed.
“What can you mean?” asked an Australorp, offended. “What I wouldn’t give to be out of this cage.”
“Oh, Rhonda, you’d be somebody’s lunch by noon.”
“Speaking of lunch” added the Orpington, with a hint of urgency…
“I mean, they want government-funded sex and pigment change operations every third Thursday of the month!” I exaggerated, somewhat. “They’re such birdbrains!”
“Well, that settles it then. Birdbrains rule!” retorted the Ameraucana.
“Speaking of lunch,” continued the Orpington, undissuaded from her train of thought, “the Democrats seem right to me, that is, as long as they see to raking up the poop and keeping the feeder full.”
“Here, here!” “Well spoken!” “Righto, Buff!” “That girl knows how to feather a bed!” When they had finished they looked up at me, expressionless.
“You may be cooking your own goose,” I warned.
“Pure quackery!” responded Rosy, pronouncing a final judgment. The rest, being lower in the pecking order, nodded.
“Do you have any worms?” Buffy asked sheepishly.