Thursday, May 31, 2018


Max was like any other chick raised at this farm, at least when it comes to humble beginnings. She arrived in the mail in a box from Stromberg's Hatchery. Her breed is Ameracauna, which has fluffy cheek feathers and lays blue eggs. And like every other pullet in the brooding pen she ate her chicken chow, scratched in the dirt, drank from the little water fountain, and fell asleep at night in a feathery pile with all the other hens being raised as this year's new layers. Life was pretty good for Max. A free-range chicken on a small farm - poultry pot at the end of the rainbow.

Max wanted more. At some point when I was moving the pullet tractors to fresh grass she slid out and made a run for it. I wasn't worried. Gibson and Friday are dandy chickenherds and if all else failed she'd be back by her coop mates by nightfall, asleep outside the pen on the ground. This is what 99% of chickens do. They desire to be with other chickens. They are flock animals. Not Max.

Max has taken up residency with the pigs. She walked hundreds of yards with her tiny body and found the sounder. Think of what that means? It would be like you leaving everything you knew to join a herd of elephants - if the elephants were the size of Boeing 737s. But this is what Max wanted. Now she eats alongside pigs, sleeps with them at night, travels on their backs, and has made the pig paddock home. She can leave whenever she wants but chooses pig life. And I gotta say it suits her. She is larger and brighter than the cooped birds in the tractors. She glows golden in the sun. And even if she doesn't realize it - as long as the pigs don't eat her (so far they haven't) she's as safe from non-porcine predators as can be. No fox kit is going to leap electric netting and tussle with 200lbs animals for a 4oz snack.

Max isn't a conventional hen. She's kinda young and reckless. But she's out riding hogs in the forest while the other poults are in cages. I respect the hell out of this chicken. Max, may you prosper and thrive with your pig life!

Photo by Miriam Romais