I wasn't sure what to expect when I borrowed the book. I knew it was a story about a woman and her chickens. I knew that it contained illustrations. I knew that everyone who has read it found it incredibly amusing. This book did not disappoint. The illustrations are incredibly comic. The book was easy to read. Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down and a mere 12 hours later, I had read it cover to cover.
Hardcore farmers, don't bother to read it. The author's chickens are her pets. Since I seem to blur the lines of pet/livestock, this book was interesting. Part of me thought she was a little crazy but the softie in me cheered for the entire book. When I read the chapter when she built her disabled chicken a separate, special coop, I cringed. It was a toss up as to whether I thought she was nuts or because I knew I would do the same thing. The difference between the author and me? I am not proficient in tools. We own them but I don't really know how to use most of them. Could I figure it out? Absolutely, I just haven't yet. I am sure that that gives my husband a little comfort. This way he knows that when he leaves for work, he won't come home to sheep and a new three sided barn for them. Hmmm, perhaps now is a good time to learn about power tools...
Most of my chickens are livestock but I do have one or two that are pets. I know this because although two weeks ago we butchered four of our six roosters and I had no problem doing that (or eating them), there are a few hens I know I couldn't eat. Big Mama is one of them. For those of you who have been around a while, you know that Big Mama was our first chicken to hatch a chick. Last spring, she was also one of the few survivors of a fox attack. I had to keep her inside the house and nurse her back to health. Even having hatched another baby last August, she is still not the same as all the other girls. She still has a limp and she cannot dust. She has trouble being mounted because she has a lopsided body. One side is much bigger than the other and she cannot fly. She is also the first to come over to me when I call. She lets me pick her up and she will eat out of my hand. She is the only chicken who, when I held the 4 month old baby to pee in the grass today Big Mama attempted to eat the baby's toe, I let her get away with it and gently shooed her. I carried her into the coop while she was recovering and put her on the roost. I definitely babied her and when I saw one of the roosters this past fall beating up on her, I rushed to her defense. It wasn't necessary as she kicked his butt but was barely able to stand afterwards. Needless to say, should I have the power tool know how and a special needs coop was needed, well, I could see myself building one.
The book is definitely worth a read for anyone who likes chickens. It might even encourage you to notice some things about your chickens you hadn't before. I know that today, after finishing the book, as I was hanging laundry on the line, I paid closer attention to the chickens as they were milling around. They were clucking softly to each other, something I hadn't paid much mind before. Now I listened closely, trying to decipher what they could be chatting about. There seems to be some anthropomorphization on the author's part but having never been a chicken, I cannot say for certain. Some days I wonder.
The Verdict? Once Upon a Flock was a really fun read. I encourage you to check it out. I know I will be purchasing a few copies for gifts.
|Big Mama one year after the fox attack.|
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