Meet Irma the Chicken

Please help me welcome Slim Randles as today’s Wednesday’s Guest with a fun story about Irma the chicken. I tried to have chickens once. Even have a very fine coop in my barn with a roost and a nifty ladder up to the roost. I bought five chickens from my neighbor and thought my grasshopper problem was solved. Plus I’d get fresh eggs in the bargain.

It was not to be.

Poppy, my dog, did not like the chickens. In fact, she liked to chase the chickens, and when I thought she was going to kill the chickens, they went back to my neighbor. Now I buy eggs from my chickens that live around the corner from me.

All this talk about eggs put me in the mood for some deviled eggs, and I just happen to have some in my refrigerator. Help yourself and enjoy…

Irma has it figured out. She’s a bona fide, egg-laying member of the “Production Red” hen sorority and she knows her rights.

This is really remarkable when you consider the braincase of your average barnyard chicken is wedged between some feathers and those big expressionless eyes and has about the same capacity for rational thought as that of an amoeba. But somehow this hen of mine has figured it out.

The sunlight triggers it, I believe. Sequential logic.

When the daylight comes enough to make out the outline of the house, Gunsil (the rooster) starts telling the world how wonderful he is. When the sun hits the house, The Guy Who Takes Away the Eggs (aka T.G.W.T.A.T.E.) comes out and puts food in the dish. When it gets dark, it’s time to go back in the hen-house, better known as “Home.”

Irma doesn’t get fooled by artificiality the way Gunsil does. We’ve learned that a midnight visit to the bathroom is fine as long as you don’t turn on the light. If the light switch goes on, out comes Gunsil from his hen-pecked existence and he begins telling the world it’s time to get up and start laying.

If a person were to have several cups of coffee before bedtime, the result the next morning is a bedraggled, exhausted, confused rooster who is mad enough to want to whip the neighbor’s German shepherd.

It’s almost worth it.

But Irma isn’t fooled by light coming through the bathroom window. She waits for the real thing. Daylight. The sun. The sun’s rays slowly slide down the walls of the house until they hit the bricks of the patio. When the bricks are illuminated by the morning light, she waits exactly 17 seconds for The Guy Who Takes Away the Eggs to emerge with scratch and laying mash.

If he’s tardy, she goes to work.

Buoyed by a sense of feminine assertiveness and egged on by an empty crop, she strides across the yard, across the patio bricks, up to the very gates of House itself, the sliding glass doors. Then Irma pecks at the glass until T.G.W.T.A.T.E. emerges with breakfast.

There aren’t a lot of perks to being a chicken. One must insist on the few one has.


Brought to you by Cedar Ridge Leather Works, fine custom leather for the shooting sports.


If you like these offerings from Slim that I post here on my blog, you will enjoy his book:  Home Country; Drama Dreams and Laughter from America’s Heartland, that is a compilation of his nationally syndicated column, “Home Country.” This is a wonderful book that is a joy to keep on the coffee table to read and read again.

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