Max or Maxine?

by Linda Potter
(Statesville, NC)

One day I walked into the feed store to get some dog treats and saw they had baby chicks. Who can resist that plaintive little peep peep? The longer I held them and talked to them, they all calmed right down. The sign said they were Barred Rock. My dad had those for years so I was familiar with the breed. The next thing I know, I'm going out the door with eight chicks. Four Barred Rock and four Golden Comets. My friend asked me where I was planning to put them and I said in the bathroom, it already has a heat lamp. Well, I was a 24/7 nursemaid. Plus I didn't know how fast they would outgrow the huge storage box they were in. On top of that, every time I had to use the bathroom I had at least four chicks on me. They they found the moles on my leg and almost ripped them off! Meanwhile, the weather was getting warmer and my friend's husband was helping to build the coop and run. I had a problem with my Barred Rock, because they should be striped, not all black. Happily I found that they are Black Australorps. Well, now finally they were happily in the coop and I could use the bathroom without having to use half a box of band aids.

All of my chickens have names, so when one started riding the others I figured I'd gotten a rooster. Then I found the first golf ball of an egg! Eventually, I was getting six eggs a day. Max was still having the time of his life so that his underparts were naked as a newborn Jay bird and all the hens were missing the feathers on their backs. One day I went in and found seven eggs! This was odd because I only had six girls. Dotty died the day after I brought them home. I started asking everybody if a hen could lay more than one egg a day. I was told yes, if they are happy and fed extra well. A few days later we were having a bad storm and I ran down to make sure they were okay. I found three chickens stuffed into one nest and Max was on the bottom! Now I was totally confused! About two weeks later I knew for sure that Max was Maxine. I had just collected the eggs and MAXINE jumped up into the nest and settled in. So I sat in my lawn chair and waited! Sure enough here she came tearing out into the pen to tell the others in a voice that would make any mother glad. Now Maxine is a beautiful girl, still with a bare bum!
So that's the story of Ruby, Connie, Baby, Lacey, Penny, Calico, and of course Maxine!

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