One cold, drizzly day in March 2007, my husband spirited a tiny hatchling away from a place where it had been taken to be fed alive to hawks. Nearly dead from hypothermia, the sick little chick responded to warmth and a lot of spoiling, and grew up as part of our family.
Despite Ollie's humble beginnings, his vet always called him "a real gentleman". Our youngest cat, Annie, would have called him her best friend. I just called him a love.
Ollie lived in our house, played in his garden, and went to sleep every night in his own room, cooing as he settled in on a tree branch after a snack and a long drink of water.
He clucked to music on his Fischer-Price laptop, chortled as he played "push the feather around" with the cats, and chattered as he pecked all our shoes until he had a collection of the ones we could no longer use.
When he passed away six months ago, the clucking, chuckling, chortling, and chatter went silent.
We have a big family: three dogs and three cats, all with voices and opinions. You'd think I would have my hands full and enough noise!
But it's those chicken sounds: a chick's peeping, the tap-tap-tap of a chicken running down the hallway behind me on my way to the living room, and the chortle of a contented chicken just given a meal worm ~ the sounds of chicken joy ~ that I miss and that I'm ready to bring into in our home again.
Sometime this winter, I'll be driving out to to Dog River Bantams, a breeder of Cochin Bantam chickens in Vermont, to bring home two lovely pullets, female chicks who will share our home and grow up in our lives.
You're invited to follow along as I get their home ready, bring them in, and fill our house with the sounds of chicken joy.