Pet of the Day

September 21, 2010

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Simon, the Pet of the Day
Name: Simon
Age: One year old
Gender: Female
Kind: Appenzeller Spitzhauben hen
Home: Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA
   Using her feet dipped in paint, Simon created a "Masterpiece" painting that is currently being auctioned off on eBay with all of the proceeds going toward a fund that will help rebuild a local playground. As of right now the high bid is at $535. That's a pretty good day's work for a little bird. Move over "Make Way for Ducklings" there's a new bird in town.

    Simon lives with her 33 other sisters in our backyard coop. She loves apple slices, stale bread, and to be held in your arms.

    When we got Simon our Appenzeller Spitzhauben (who with her twin sister are named after the pair Simon and Garfunkel) she was so tiny and timid she hid under the larger chicks in our flock's feathers much like a toddler will cling to the apron of her mother. Unfortunately as we all know in life, sometimes when you are little you can often get, well, pooped upon. Simon ended up getting so much poop on her feathers (and chicken poop is a sticky-goo) that I honestly didn't think she was going to survive. My son Trevor, never one to give up, took her into the house, washed her with Dawn detergent and gently swaddled her (in one of my good towels of course) literally nursing her back to health.

    Not only did she live, but since then she has thrived. Clearly one of our absolute favorite birds, she has returned our care many times over by acting more like a puppy than a chicken. She runs to us and loves to sit in our laps, be held, and to have us run our hands along her back.

    Simon and her sister lay white elongated eggs that have a shiny shell. We can always tell from our various gathered eggs which ones are the Appenzellers'.

    When kids come over to see our chickens, it's always Simon who is our go-to bird. I know she'll patiently endure little fingers and will be gentle when small faces try to whisper her kisses.

    Simon has even gone to school. When I gave a presentation on chickens to my daughter's school, you can bet Simon was one of the birds I took with me. She has become a wonderful little ambassador for backyard chicken raising bringing kids and now a whole community together.

    When it came time to paint a painting that would be auctioned on eBay in an effort to raise funds for a local playground rebuild project, there was never any doubt as to which bird would do it. I held Simon in my arms and she never once fussed while the painting was being done. Between colors we washed her feet and dried them with a towel before we moved on.

    Yesterday I had a chat with Simon. "Now it won't do to get a big head over this whole painting thing you know." I told her. "Some chickens are not more equal than others."

    Simon just moved herself under my hand, the better to pat her with.

    "Yeah sure," she replied as she stretched out in the nearest sun puddle "Just don't forget my pedicure appointment at 3."

Simon, the Pet of the Day

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