So the test results are back. It turns out I’m weird. I know, I was shocked too.
The nice thing about being weird is that other weird people tend to like hanging out around you. This adds up to a nice little weird community. Weird communities are the best because they are just so interesting and if something isn’t interesting, I don’t even want a part of it. Apparently not everyone feels this way, though.
Usually when you are weird, your family is weird too. You might not notice it because they are probably a different kind of weird than you are, but trust me, they’re weird.
None of this was really a huge revelation to me. I’ve been weird for a really long time. It’s why the other girls in junior high were super mean to me and why I had very few friends in high school. When you are a teenager, no one wants to be weird. Interestingly, I’m pretty sure my weirdness is also why I had lots of amazing friends in college. The thing that DID surprise me about being weird is that this rule of “weirdness attracts weirdness” also applies to livestock.
Did you know about this?
Neither did I.
There is a reason I have not told you about Weird Chicken. You see, chickens are not very smart. This actually makes them pretty easy to work with. When you get a new chicken you can just put it in your chicken coop at night. When it wakes up in the morning, it thinks it has always lived there and will return there every night to sleep. Easy peasy. Also, all chickens act alike, so once you figure out how to deal with one chicken, you can pretty much deal with all chickens. The only thing you really have to worry about is your chickens being too stupid to live. They will literally just sit there while a fox or weasel casually picks them off one by one.
Because they are so not bright, it was hard for me to admit that there might be a weird chicken in my flock. If chickens are stupid and can be weird, does that mean that my weirdness makes me less intelligent? I figured I was safer not exploring that.
But Weird Chicken will not be ignored, so today I will write about her.
When I first bought Weird Chicken, she came with a group of her sisters. They all look exactly the same and are supposed to be super calm, a little bit pretty, and easy to handle. When these chickens were big enough to put out in the regular chicken coop with the big chickens, I did what I always do. I waited until night, put them in the big chicken coop, and figured that was that.
That was not that.
After a day or two of figuring out the pecking order, all of the chickens settled in like I expected them to. Except one chicken. Every night when I would go to put the chickens away, I would find one chicken back at the baby chicken coop, waiting patiently for me to let her in.
I did not let her in.
Every night I would pick her up and carry her to the big chicken coop and tuck her in. While I was carrying her back, she would look at me and say “But that is not where I belong.”
Okay, I know what you are thinking. Don’t worry. I know that the chicken wasn’t actually talking. I’m weird, not crazy. That is just what she SEEMED to be saying.
After a few weeks of this, I decided to clip her wings so that she could not fly over the fence to where the baby chicken coop was. This is not as barbaric as it sounds. I simply trimmed the feathers on one of her wings. It’s like a haircut. A haircut that inhibits your ability to fly.
Weird Chicken was determined, though. Soon she would wait by the gate and sneakily race out as soon as I opened it. She also found a new destination. Weird chicken was now hanging out in the pig pen.
This was really scary for me at first because pigs are hungry all of the time. They are also fairly intelligent so sometimes they get bored with their regular food. I have read about pigs happily killing chickens that wander into their pen and enjoying a nice chicken dinner. My pigs did not do this, however. My pigs are raised in a larger pasture so apparently they are not as bored. They happily welcomed Weird Chicken into their group. Every night I would find her curled up with the pigs. I would let out a deep sigh and trudge into the pig pasture where I would chase her around for about and hour before catching her and carrying her back to the big chicken coop.
Yeah, it was hilarious.
I was not laughing.
Every night when I brought her back to her home, Weird Chicken would look at me and say “But I am a pig! These are my people. I don’t belong in a chicken coop!”
Now while I am not crazy enough to believe that the chicken is actually talking to me, I am weird enough to argue with one. I would say things like “You are NOT a pig!” and “I can’t protect you from foxes and weasels when you are in the pig pen!” and “You do realize that pigs get butchered in the fall, don’t you?”
Weird Chicken did not care. She was a pig.
Finally, one night, I walked out to the pig pasture and shouted “I give up! You’re a pig! I hope your pig family protects you from predators because I GIVE UP!”
The rest of the summer Weird Chicken lived with the pigs. She ate the pig food, drank the pig water, and slept with the pigs. She never once left the pig pasture. Also, nothing ate her. This surprised me. Her new family must have actually protected her.
When fall finally came and the pigs took their family vacation to a nearby town, I tried putting Weird Chicken back in the big chicken coop. She wasn’t having it. Every evening I would find her wandering sadly around the pig pasture, looking for her pigs. Pigs that were now residing in various freezers across the county.
Finally I decided that Weird Chicken’s time of mourning was over. I shut the gate to the pig pasture .
That night Weird Chicken was not waiting at the gate of the Pig Pasture. She was not in the pig pasture or waiting by the gate of the baby chicken coop.
I had success.
I went around and shut the duck house, the rabbitry, and the big chicken coop, satisfied that Weird Chicken was no longer weird.
The next morning I opened the big chicken coop. I counted. Um, I was one chicken short.
I sighed, figuring Weird Chicken must have been eaten by a fox in the pig pasture sometime the day before. It was sad.
I fed the rabbits sadly.
Then I opened the duck house.
Guess who emerged from the duck house in all her glory declaring happily “I’m a duck! THESE are my people!”
I sighed. Chickens are a little fragile. The chicken coop is insulated and heated. The duck house is not. Also, winter was coming and temperatures dip down to negative forty degrees for weeks at a time around here.
“Fine.” I sighed. “You’re a duck. Please just thrive.”
This winter was late, but every bit as cold as a Wisconsin winter is supposed to be. Every day I feed my chickens in their nice warm coop. Then I release the ducks into the cold. Ducks seem to enjoy the cold. They slide on the ice, they play in the snow, and they generally seem to enjoy the weather. Right out there with them is their weird little sister, miraculously still alive and determined to thrive.
I guess now she’s a duck.
Which just goes to show you that being who you want to be doesn’t always take intelligence, it just takes determination.