Once upon a time, there was a Chicken Big, named Mildred. She was a British-born, yellow, Buff Orpington, who was so large she could hardly fit through the door of the hen house. Mildred wasn’t fat, really; she was just way oversized. Her owners had to build another room onto the hen house and a special nesting box just for her to lay her eggs.
“Blimey!” Mildred exclaimed one day, after laying a huge egg. “This one must have quadruple yolks”
It wasn’t unusual for Buff Orpingtons to lay double-yolk eggs,, but a quadruple-yolk egg?!
“I say, what shall I do if I continue to lay such large eggs? It’s like going to the loo and pooping out a goat!”
In fact, the owner could feed her husband, her son, and herself breakfast with only one or two of Mildred’s eggs.
As usual to the Breed, Mildred was a mild-mannered, passive hen. She was as kind as she was big, always helping normal-size chickens get something they couldn’t reach, such as a spider in the corner of the coop’s ceiling, or a grasshopper it had captured. She was also a clean freak. She helped her owner change out the nesting hay, scrape the poo off all the roosting roods, scrub out and disinfect the watering cans and dump the mildewed pellets from the feeders.
Despite her size, Mildred would never dream of pecking other chickens, or bullying them, like some chickens did. The only thing the other members of the flock faulted her for was her penchant for eating way more than her share of bugs, grub worms, red worms and baby snakes. Because of their size, they didn’t want to stray too far from the coop, and she was over pecking there. The rooster decided to speak to her.
“Mildred, we need you to eat farther from the coop. If a predator shows up, you can get back to the here much faster than we can,” he informed her.
“How thoughtless of me,” Mildred realized. “By all means,” she agreed. Of course, they all had plenty of scratch grain and pellets, but the protein they received from bugs and worms was critical to free-ranging fowl.
That afternoon, while Mildred scratched and pecked near the owners’ residence, the owner’s son, Steven, was throwing a Frisbee with a friend. It landed just at the edge of the shed roof. Steven came over to her and asked her to retrieve it for him. She didn’t even have to fly up there. Mildred just rose on her toes, stretched up her wing and brought it down. Steven thanked her and threw it back to his friend.
Suddenly a “Squawk, squawk, squawk” and “Cackle, cackle, cackle,” came from the chicken yard. Mildred rushed to the coop to find a fox cornering a hen. When the fox saw Mildred, he frozen in place, his eyes widened to saucers, then he turned and rushed off.
“Thank you, Mildred,” the frightened hen said, relieved. She told the others that maybe Mildred should remain closer to the hen house, after all.
“Okay,” Mildred agreed. “I’m willing to give up bugs, but I won’t compromise on grubs, red worms, night crawlers, and small snakes. Naked and Afraid is on my bucket list, and I shall need to remain prepared.”
“Well, when you go,” hollered Mixed-Up Chuck from ‘across the pond,’ “bring BeakCheek, so you will have something to need, behind making a swelter and bunting for 21 rays.”