The Ugly Little Chicken
A Love Story

The Ugly Little Chicken. A Love Story.


This is the story of my ugly little hen.

A hen so dull and boring we didn’t even bother to name her.

Her nose is really too big and her comb is really too small.

She’s so invisible the other chickens don’t even pick on her.

The little hen that almost doesn’t even exist.

Someone suggested we name her Cheez Whiz, since Cheez Whiz adds personality.  We were desperate.  So she was named.

Cheez Whiz now had a name, but still no zing.  No expression, no cute chicken characteristics.  No personality.

I didn’t hate Cheez Whiz. There was no reason to hate her. She was just there. She was so dull there wasn’t even anything to hate.

So when a friend lost one of his chickens to a fox I agreed to give him one of my hens.  I knew immediately it was going to be Cheez Whiz.  I felt bad, but if I was going to part with one of my flock it was going to be her.

I wanted to make room for an Ameraucana you see.  They’re the chickens that I’ve always wanted.  They’re one of only a few breeds of chickens that lay blue and green eggs.

But … on Easter morning when my boyfriend surprised me up with a box full of  day old Rhode Island Red fluffballs I certainly wasn’t going to turn them away.  Even if they would only lay brown eggs.

So I counted the days until my friend would pack boring, ugly chicken Cheez Whiz into a cardboard box and take her away.  Then I could buy a blue egg laying chicken.  .

I got a phone call.  My friend didn’t need an extra chicken anymore.  He went out and bought himself a whole flock … of blue egg laying Ameraucanas.

I was devastated.  He was getting the chickens I always wanted, and I was once again stuck with Cheez Whiz.  The dull little hen.

Then one day when she was around 4 months old,  Cheez Whiz slowly and clumsily made her way into the nesting box for the first time.

The other chickens stood at the door and squawked at her a bit, but she ignored them and went about her business.

Eventually the others left her alone.

It was at exactly that moment I learned a life lesson.

Because on that day, my boring little chicken … the rose-combed Rhode Island Red named Cheez Whiz … did this for me.



That day I couldn’t even get excited over her blue egg.  I couldn’t jump for joy or laugh with surprise.  All I could manage was to pick Cheez Whiz up and say I’m sorry.

She had a good life Cheez Whiz.  She died yesterday.  She was the last of my original flock.  I found her alone, outside in the run on the cold ground, her body still warm. I suspect she died instantly of a heart attack. I had only been out feeding her an afternoon snack about an hour earlier.

I picked her body up and held her against me and for the last time said to her, I’m sorry.

The Ugly Little Chicken<br data-lazy-src=


  1. pat says:

    Awwww. That is the best story ever.

  2. Sara says:

    If only you could get a pig to give you some green ham…

  3. Aimee says:

    Way to go Cheez Whiz!

  4. Tess says:

    Some of us bloom differently.

  5. Chris says:

    I’m so happy for you and for Cheez Whiz. You’re probably too young to remember this, but Seasme Street used to have a song about how one of these things was not like the other, one of these things just didn’t belong and usually, the thing that didn’t belong turned out to be something you wanted.


  6. Sharmila says:

    Hi Karen,
    I have been reading your blog for a while and fell in LOVE with you CHICKEN COOP, Chicken Stories, your funny jokes and everything in between. This was the most amazing story from your entire blog I loved the most…it almost made me cry…

  7. Lisa says:

    Just had to let you know this is my new favorite blog. I’ve always had a thing for chickens, since we had them when I was a little kid. If I keep reading this, I might just have to get some chickens.

  8. Ashley says:

    This made my day. Nice work, CW.

  9. Laurie says:

    i can’t believe I am crying in my office over an ugly chicken.

  10. paula says:

    awww, great story. i love it!!!

  11. JennyA says:

    That’ll do, Cheez Whiz. That’ll do.

    I’m a little teary about plain, dull little Cheez Whiz, who turned out to lay the beautiful egg.

  12. Jen A says:

    That egg deserves a spot, UN-bronzed, on your mantel. Thanks Cheez Whiz.

  13. carin says:

    I love this! LOVE it. My god, it’s like universal life lessons through CheezWhiz. Prooves that everyone IS special, especially the ‘special’ ones we’d never guess are special…

    I hope you launch a line of CheezWhiz products. I, for one, would happily put her gorgeous face on my backpack!

  14. Karen says:

    Hi Steph – Perhaps you’re new around here. I’ve spent months saving fish that have their guts spilling out of them, raised monarch butterflies to increase their population, took in an 8 toed stray cat that was living on my front porch in the middle of winter among other things. I had her spayed, checked over, got her shots …. at a point when I really couldn’t afford to. Anyhow … the point is, I think you might be missing the point of this story. ~ karen

    • Steph says:

      I am kinda new; been reading since…you started building the coop? Maybe a little before? I’ll take your word for it; I read your posts pre-coffee so I was probably just grouchy. :)

  15. Jen says:

    Awww. I was feeling really bad for Cheez Whiz and now I’m not. Great story!

  16. I love this so much.

  17. beauty is therefore only skin deep…we’ve had many cheez whiz’s around here….

  18. Maria says:

    How cool. Personality plus on the inside. She is just an introvert :) her face is a bit fluffy on the sides in this pic in an ameraucana way.

  19. marilyn says:

    that reminds me of my mom , she would always say that everyone had something great, every fat girl had beautiful but she has such a pretty face! so ya see even in the animal kingdom everyone has something great. green eggs who’d a thought!

  20. Jillian says:

    Awesome story! Isn’t it funny how what we want shows up in the most unexpected ways…

  21. The chicken that said…I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN….and then DID IT. Gotta love it now :)

  22. pve says:

    Now if there is ever a golden egg, well then cheese whizz’s goose might be cooked.
    what a heartfelt story.

  23. Brigid says:

    Shut the front door! That is freakin awesome! Sometimes i think pets know deep down what would please us the most and they try harder than any human to make it so. Way to go Lil’ Cheezy!!!

  24. Nicole says:

    Just goes to show you. It really is what’s inside that counts. That’s a beautiful colour. I’d love to paint a room in that colour.

  25. Deb says:

    That is one of the most precious stories I’ve ever read. I bet Cheez Whiz looks so much different to you now! There’s a soral to this mory…(Archie Campbell)….:-)….never judge a book by it’s cover!!!

  26. magali says:

    LOVE IT!

  27. Bev says:

    I love your little chicken laying those pretty eggs. I always pick the ugliest dog when we adopt because I think otherwise they would never get a home.

  28. Cindy Marlow says:

    What an awesome take on the ugly duckling story. I love it!

  29. Brenda says:

    Just when you think you have ‘seen it all’..I am speechless. I thought you were kiddin’ us. Wow !!

  30. mary c says:

    I gasped. I wept. I felt the Universe deliver a messsage for all of us. Excellent, excellent story.
    Good girl Cheez Whiz.

  31. Robin says:

    Giving me goose bumps (chicken skin to you). That’s just a little bit… um, crazy, out-there – you know what I mean. It’s actually awesome in its very spookiness. Cheez Whiz! What a wonderful little chook!

  32. Karen J says:

    Perhaps she deserves a name change?
    Something more noble then Cheez Whiz.

  33. Jamieson says:

    I was hoping she wove the basket. Then she’d really be paying her keep!

  34. Shauna Rudy says:

    I must be up too late, because I’m a little verklempt. I look forward to seeing what you do with those beautiful shells, once you’ve induced a migraine blowing the eggs out.

    On a completely unrelated note, I spent an embarrassing amount of time today searching your site every way I could think of, vainly trying to find the post where you mentioned a coffee from Costco that you love. I need a less expensive coffee than my Peets, but I fear I’ll end up drinking multiple 5lbs bags of bad coffee in the search. Can you help a girl out? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      HI Shauna – I have a feeling I might have mentioned that that on Twitter or Facebook as opposed to a post. I’m not sure! Anyhow, the coffee is Costco brand coffee, “Kirkland Brand”. They have 2 roasts, I prefer the darker one but I like strong coffee. ~ karen!

      • Shauna Rudy says:

        Thank you, Karen! I bought a bag yesterday (the darker one is called “Columbian”) and had a cup this morning. Very yummy!

      • judy says:

        We have been drinking costco coffee, whole beans, for 30 years and they have changed the bag 3? times. I now buy 3 bags at a time so they can’t get this variation away from me too soon,although I have gotten used to the changes and love them all. On the subject of chickens,I cried at the revelation of the death of The Whiz,conversely,I have a costco raw chicken in the fridge that is going to be my instant pot try at a whole chicken. The guilt I’m going to experience and the happiness with it turning out well has caused a constitutional crisis. How do we reconcile this dilemma?

  35. AnnW says:

    Well I guess her name should be Blue Cheese. You are getting to be our own little Canadian Martha Stewart. You know that she has many kinds of chickens that lay many different colors of eggs. Way back when she had the paint line at Kmart she had some Araucana Blue and Green paints. Named after the eggs!

  36. Katy says:

    I suspect your girlies are actually a RIR hybrid (called Warrens or ISA Browns or Gingernut Rangers here in the UK) they are a cross between a RIR and a light sussex and are a sex-linked ‘breed’ (i.e. they look different as chicks so you *should* only get girls. (that’s why your boy was white (light sussex colouring). As such it seems that a green egg layer cock snuck in there for a while (or he wasn’t pure light Sussex and had a recessive gene from a green egg layer in HIS heritage.

    Rhodies are much darker red…

    Either way your ladies are gorgeous!

    • Karen says:

      Katy – My one RIR is actually very dark. That’s the one we call Walnut. :) I contacted the guy we got the chicks from when I first got them and he told me they’re RIRs, but that wayyyy back somewhere … a grandmother or something … there was an Ameraucana on the farm. I don’t think they’re ISA browns for some reason. I have no idea why … I just don’t, LOL. ~ karen

  37. Sue says:

    You got a BLUE egg! Omg! I can hardly contain myself! I will be going chicken hunting some cool, dark night! I want an easteregger!! You lucky duck!…or should I say chicken! Good old Cheez Whiz! Wait till David hears! I think his are all turning out to be roosters! …..does that mean he’ll have blue soup! CONGRATS! I am so eggcited! xo

  38. Claire says:

    Another example of how we are not supposed to be judging by appearances!

  39. Michelle says:

    She worked overtime so she could stay with you :)

  40. Dee says:

    The old saying don’t judge a book by it’s cover seems to fit here…. I could never hate any chicken, or dislike them for how they look!! I had a sad lil chicken who was plucked bald by mean hens… i made her my pet, she thrived under my protection from her bullies until one day the rooster came up and started calling to her… he coaxed her out to him and cooed to her as he pecked the ground…. soon he had her roaming the yard skittishly with him, then one day i watched as the mean bigger hens began to gang up on her and try to pluck her…. he came along and goosed them all on the butts, from then on she was his main squeeze and no longer needed me to protect her, i felt like i had raised a child to let her go…. i was proud of her and sad to lose my pet.
    i love chickens!!!

    • Karen says:

      Dee – More than her looks it was her personality. Little Cheez Whiz was just dull. Yes. Animals can be dull. Just the way a lot of people are dull. Until you find out they can speak 12 languages while riding a unicycle made out of razor blades. ~ karen

    • Laura Lee Mistycah says:

      I LOVE that story of the Knight in shining armor Roo! Thanks for sharing.

  41. Laureen says:


    Very touching. Truth is that small rose comb and that big Eagle like beak look just like my one blue/green laying Ameraucana (the other 3 lay pink eggs which are not as exciting as the blue). Now you can say you have a Red Blooded Ameraucana. May God continue to bless you.


    • Laureen says:

      On a side note. I was looking at your older blogs and little Lucky appeared to have had the tell tale Ameraucana eyeliner and racing stripes that all of mine had.

  42. Wendy says:

    Great story – enjoy your eggs!

  43. JennaLis says:

    Her eggs must be your absolute favourites.

  44. Shauna says:

    I almost cried…. but i did get the wine open so that my be part of the reason!! But isn’t that just perfect!! Never judge a book by it’s cover… Worth the wait, Thanks Karen!

  45. Jaclyn says:

    Heart warming story! :)

  46. Jenn says:

    Squeeee!!!! That’s so egg-citing!!

    • Karen says:

      Jenn – I know!! Have you ever heard of such a thing? I mean, these hens are Rhode Island Reds. They look it, they act it … but apparently there’s some Ameraucana somewhere in her! ~ k

      • Lita says:

        That’s amazing. I’ve never heard of that happening before.

        I live in Austin Texas and lost my two ameracuanas to the insane heat (they are acclimated to cold, but with their teeny combs, don’t handle the heat as well).

        I MISS my girls and my blue eggs.

        Rhode Islanders are so tough, and now you have one that lays easter eggs! That’s really wild.

  47. Julie says:

    Well as a chicken person, of all of a year and a half, I saw where this was going. I have looked at every chicken picture on the net! My husband went out and got a dozen straight run from TSC so I had to identify them. We kept 2 of the 12 and then went to a real hatchery to get 4 more. What a great story though, I even cried at the end.

  48. Marti says:

    Karen, are you saying she lays lots of eggs or that she lays green ones for you? Either way, very glad that the plain little hen has proven herself to you.

    This burst of sentimentality is kinda shocking for you, girl. Watch yourself!

    • Karen says:

      Marti – LOL. Yes she lays green/blue eggs. And you’d best go back and read some more posts. I’ve written a few sentimental/heartfelt posts. Lucky is the first one that comes to mind! Poor little Lucky. Probably would’ve laid purple eggs. ~ k

  49. Pati says:

    What..?? Really? Ok I got shivers. That is unbelievable.
    Awesome Karen! Certainly is a lesson in life. Wow

    • Karen says:

      I know. I was shocked. Completely and totally shocked. I literally started shaking. You see, I’ve never picked out my own pet. (I consider my chickens to be pets) My pets have always been strays or ones people were giving away. So when I got my chickens in the teensiest way I was disappointed that I didn’t get to pick them out myself. And then this happened. Again … shocking. ~ karen

  50. Laura says:

    Ode to a hen…I think I might cry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Seed Starting Calculator

  • About Karen