The Ugly Little Chicken
A Love Story

The Ugly Little Chicken. A Love Story.

 

This is the story of my ugly little hen.

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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.

232 Comments

  1. Marie says:

    I don’t know anything about chickens but maybe Cheez Whiz shows more of a typical Ameraucana personality? I think the other chickens know that she’s different on the inside and that’s why she doesn’t quite fit in with them. The egg is lovely!

  2. cristine says:

    I have to disagree with you Karen, I don’t find her in the least bit ugly. She’s a very noble & handsome hen. It might just be the photo… Wonderful photo by-the-bye. Great story. Cringe worthy name. Do the blue eggs taste differently?

  3. Donna Hollingsworth says:

    Your experience with Cheez Whiz reinforces the old adage “Never Judge a Book by its Cover”. She is a diamond in the rough and a precious little chicken!!!!

  4. Nancy says:

    Great story Karen…I love the fact that you give equal value to all living creatures and not just the human ones..you will work overtime to save animals that others might dismiss as not worth the effort or cost..Keep being the nice lady that you are and don’t be discouraged by a few people who don’t get your sense of humor as those of us who love to read your posts are very grateful for the daily laughs that you give us..and by the way..I finally got to try those “farm fresh eggs”..YUMMY..big difference..Hugs!

  5. Maggie says:

    That is a very heartwarming and wondrous story. I love Cheez Whiz…the hen.

  6. Jenn says:

    She is chicken, pared down to the essentials. Go CW!

  7. Ashlyn says:

    That’s such an AWESOME story!! It was meant to be!! 🙂

  8. David says:

    Awww! Great story! Yea, Cheez Whiz!

  9. Kristin says:

    If I admitted that this story made my eyes water and my nose sniffle a bit, would you recommend a trip to the looney bin?

  10. Abbey says:

    This has got to be the cutest story I’ve read in a long time. I’ve always wanted a little clutch of “Easter Eggers”, but I haven’t got a place for them, yet. One day, one day…

  11. Chau says:

    Cheeze Whiz rocks!

  12. Adorable. If all your eggs were that blue-green color, you wouldn’t appreciate their beauty nearly as much! They’d just be… regular. Now Cheez Whiz gives you eggs that POP against the brown ones! (Not that it matters once they are an omelet, but they sure look great in that basket!)

  13. Theresa Clarkson-Farrell says:

    The Little hen that could! lovely story.

  14. Kristy says:

    Is it weird this makes me wanna cry!?!

    (and also wanna say- never count your chickens before they hatch- umm what!?)

    Yaay for the underdog!! Or underchicken, as it is. 😉

  15. Karen says:

    OH my God. Yes. I’m an awful, terrible person who should probably be burned at the stake. I think you’re missing the point. ~ sincerely, Karen.

  16. Julie says:

    Oh my goodness, what an incredible, heartwarming story! We have one RIR and one Easter Egger, and once I got to the end of your tale, I looked at Cheez Whiz again, and now I can totally see the Easter Egger in her. Amazing!

  17. karenagain says:

    What a lovely post Karen. You know what’s weird? I painted my bathroom a month ago a repulsive shade of something that had a pretty name. It turned out the colour of Kraft Dinner or maybe Chees Whiz. It took about five coats of this stupid paint to cover the beige walls. Every time I go in the bathroom I get angry and need to take L-Theanine.

    Today I strutted into Canadian Tire and grabbed the first Debbie Travis paint chip that caught my eye. I DID NOT take the chip home and debate about it for two weeks like usual. I bought the paint, took it home and painted half the bathroom WITHOUT even taping. HA! Take that ugly orangy-yellow paint.

    Oh, the weird part is I’m re-painting it the same colour as that egg.

    And, I think that boring chicken has an interesting eye. She had a secret and was bursting to share it with you.

  18. That would explain the big beak and tiny comb. Hooray for Cheez Whiz!!! What a lucky mix up for you.

    • Karen says:

      Jennifer – Her comb is actually larger now. The picture is a bit old. She’s still a rose comb though. Tiny little comb. ~ k!

  19. Judith says:

    This story reminds me of another one…… The Ugly Duckling! Always remember, Karen, still waters run deep. I love finding one of those green eggs when I buy a dozen from our local farm.

    Oh and I showed your chicken coop post to my carpenter husband. He was appropriately impressed!

  20. karenagain says:

    Question.

    Maybe you answered this somewhere in the past. What do you do with those hens in the winter? Does it get super cold there like -35 for a few weeks?

    • Karen says:

      karenagain – It usually only gets that cold with the windchill. It does get pretty stinkin’ cold come January though. The chickens stay in the coop when it’s blizzardy outside. I’ll have a heat lamp in there for them, even though these chickens are very cold tolerant. Technically they can just be left in the coop in the cold so long as their water is thawed. I, however, want them to be as comfortable as possible, without changing the actual weather too much. I’ll also put a light in their run. They do apparently go out in the run throughout the winter. I’ll also put plastic up around the hardware cloth in their run. This will act as a wind break throughout the winter. Thanks to the people of Facebook for telling me about this little trick. And finally .. my lights will be on timers to make sure the hens have light for 14 – 15 hours a day. This will help ensure they continue to lay eggs throughout the winter. There ya go! ~ karen

  21. I might love her. Just from her simple photo. I am glad you kept her! 🙂

  22. Meg says:

    That. Is adorable. I’m in love!

  23. Sandy says:

    God, I almost adopted her on the spot! I was crying and just wanted to hug Cheez Whiz. The chicken, not the product…

  24. Stella says:

    That is a face only a mother could love… but what a basket of eggs! Well done Cheese Whiz!

  25. TracyMB says:

    Loved this story…. and even her close-up. Her egg is beeeeyouteeful! 🙂

  26. kelliblue says:

    That is awesome! Go Cheez Whiz! Tho perhaps you may have to tell folks she’s a “Whiz” at egg laying! 🙂

  27. Nathalie says:

    Morale of the story. Don’t judge a book by its cover. I do love her eyes though, very expressive.

    Don’t blue eggs taste just like white or yellow ones?

    • Karen says:

      Nathalie – They do taste just the same, they’re just special because most eggs or white or brown. To see the blue and green eggs in a bowl is remarkable! Very pretty. ~ karen

  28. corporate interior design says:

    Yay…Cheez Whiz. Its always the quiet under dog you have to look out for, because just when you aren’t expecting it they do something truly extroadinary. Great story…thanks for sharing.

  29. Crystal says:

    This is such a great story. Never judge a book (or chicken) by it’s cover (exterior). You gave me goose bumps reading this. I am happy you didn’t give up on Cheez Whiz because truly she brought you just what you always wanted but in a different form right?
    I hope you are having a wonderful week.
    Much Love,
    Crystal

  30. If I extrapolate from this story, do I have to lay a green egg before I’m appreciated?

  31. Linda says:

    OH! Poor sweet little Cheez Whiz. I think she is beautiful blue egg or not. Give her a little kiss for me. Go on now.

  32. Karen-
    You should write a short children’s story about Cheez Whiz and her egg!

  33. Mercy says:

    That was an amazing story. Made me think of the things in my life that I overlook or are dissapointed with. And, how special and usefull those things really are. Thanks so much for sharing.

  34. Amy says:

    Awe, what a wonderful present. Just makes you realize everyhen is important. LOL

  35. Kaytie @ GardenKitchenHome says:

    Fantastic story, beautifully told. Thanks for sharing!

  36. Rhiannon says:

    Aw, I love this story and the name. I have a hen named Cheeseball. 😉

  37. Eleni says:

    Your story reminded me of one of my son’s favorite books:
    http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/jenny-nimmo/something-wonderful/

    Never underestimate a boring, little chicken 😉

    I love Cheez-Whiz…

  38. mercedes says:

    love the story! you should write a kids book with it!

  39. Pam says:

    Every chicken is special. <3 This was a lovely entry!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Pam! Cheez Whiz had turned out to be one of my favourites. Once she came out of her shell (so to speak, heh) she’s become a warm, cuddly chicken. She’ll actually jump up in my lap and have a sleep there. 🙂 ~ karen

  40. Sue says:

    I love reading your blog and stories! This one was so cute…it does sound like a book…..I kept picturing that old hen that Foghorn leghorn hangs around with…..yay for Cheez Whiz!

  41. Laura says:

    LOVED this!!
    Please let me know when you publish your children’s book, AND the movie release date! ~ : )

  42. amy larson says:

    This would make a lovely childrens story—
    PS: I am just finding your blog, which is why I am so late commenting this!

  43. Gayla T says:

    Oh, a chicken story with a happy ending! I’ve been waiting for one of these for most of my life. Those are the gorge eggs Martha Stewarts chickens lay. She has a name for her coop and I have been sure that was what inspired her chickens to do such monumental things. Her coop is called Pala de poula, although not being a French speaker my spelling is probably off. What it means is Palace of the Poultry. Isn’t that inspriational if you are a chicken? I actually know a woman who makes wire cages for a living and I’ve watched her. It looks easy. If she wants the mesh to bend, she puts it under and bends it around a piece of a 2 X 4 that she is standing on and the whole piece bends evenly. She says that is her secret to success so I’m probably ruining her life by telling this. Now I know the name of the kind of chicken who lay the pretty eggs. I’m nearly there. We already have at least one chicken in the nieghborhood because I’ve heard it crow so it must not be illegal. Well, this area is a little edgy so being legal might not be a big criteria with the chicken owner. So maybe I better hurry and get some so they will be grandfathered in if they do make it illegal. Hmmm, maybe I’ll stop by the farm store while I’m out having my nails done.

  44. Linda J Howes says:

    What a lesson learned. I just read this post, following links from other posts, and I have to say it made me cry. I too am a chicken lover, have owned chickens at times, hope to again one day, and have learned many lessons from them. Hurray for Cheez Whiz, who totally expressed her personality.

  45. Brittani says:

    I’ve completely been won over now. I was almost there when I read about you (hating) building your coop, and then I got a little closer with each photo, but now I really do want my own coop… Poor Beau is going to kill me!

    • Karen says:

      Brittani – Good. Everyone needs their own coop. Your life isn’t complete until you’ve had chickens. BUT it is work and dirty and work. As long as you’re O.k. with that in exchange for chickens jumping in your lap and eggs coming out of their furry bums … you’re good. 🙂 ~ karen

      • Dani says:

        So true,my life was made complete when my nine girls came into my life,think they will end up in the backyard(buried)easy to get attached to them

  46. Dani says:

    What a sweet and wonderful chicken.I have nine girls myself and love them to death.They all have very different personalities,and bring joy and fun

    • Karen says:

      Dani – That very same sweet little chicken has turned into a nightmare, LOL! She’s growing spurs and *just* attacked my little Walnut. I just got in from enclosing her in her own pen and tending to her blood gushing comb. 🙁 I had her in the house for a while, LOL. I was afraid because it is sooooo cold out her blood would never dry and she’d end up getting frostbite from it being so wet. Uch. Cheez Whiz. What a brat! 🙂 ~ karen

  47. Jill says:

    Even after re-reading this I don’t know how many times, it still makes me all smiley and happy!

  48. I love an underdog, er, underchicken story. Go Cheez Whiz!

  49. Cheez Wizz did her bizz and made to go Gee Wizz!

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