(Repost from the Archives)
This is the story of Rihanna.
Shortly after moving to Squash Hollow, we began planning our farm. Kendra was raised in the country and around chickens her whole life. So it seemed like a logical place to begin.
Because it was late in the year already, we didn’t want to hatch chicks. I made a few phone calls, and found a local farm that was willing to sell us some layers.
Here was the catch. This farm had lots of chickens, and they couldn’t tell us who was laying. It was a game of “Rhode Island” Roulette. But we were actually hoping there was something in the chamber!
The first hen we choose was a beautiful Sex Link (a type of chicken whose gender can be identified at birth by color). Shes was young and healthy and we paid the most for her. She would come to be called “Fancy”. We’ll explain this later.
Next we chose 2 old Rhode Island Reds.
The farmer then offered us two Araucanas for half the price of the others. He said they had not started laying yet, but they were still young. These chickens were being pecked on by the other chickens, and so he wanted to get rid of them. We agreed. Our first flock was headed back to the farm.
Our flock was set out to free range immediately. This was good for the chickens and they all were getting along better already. But we noticed the two Araucanas stuck together. This underdog spirit of course made them our favorite. (What small farm wouldn’t love underdog?) So they needed a name.
The first Araucanas was a big bootyliscous diva, with beautiful green and black feathers. We named her Beyoncé. She was friendly and fearless so right away she became my favorite. The other had dark brown and orange feathers and was a little more timid. She was named Rihanna.
The third to be named was Fancy. After the flock arrived home we found one white egg per day. We caught the young sex link laying and realized that she was our provider. The Reba song “Fancy” has the line “here’s your one chance, Fancy, don’t let me down”. She never let us down, and was thus aptly named Fancy.
Now you may realize, because this post is named “I’m a Survivor” and it’s about Rihanna, there is not such a happy ending for the other members of our First flock.
Fancy was killed first. We went on a week long vacation, and Livie, our Rottweiler, was bored. There were no witnesses to the incident, but Fancy’s body was found in Livie’s room. We didn’t need a CSI team to tell us what happened.
Beyoncé was the next to go. One early morning Kendra looked out our dining room window, and saw her lifeless body. I got the phone call at work. Livie again. Apparently her body was not too bootyliscous for Livie.
We then undertook a serious training operation for Livie. It worked. She hasn’t killed a chicken since.
After a few quiet months, tragedy struck again. Old Red went missing. She was a very old hen, so We thought it was just her time. However, the next evening, we realized otherwise.
We returned home late, to find an opossum outside the coop and inside of the coop no chickens! We were heartbroken! Kendra chased the possum off with a rake, avenging our girls. It was a sad night, we thought all our girls from the first flock were gone. Now our farm would be chicken-less.
But when the sun came up, we were amazed. Rihanna had escaped the opossum attack, and survived all night outside the coop. She found the shed nearest Livie, and roosted inside, spending the night on the tractor’s steering wheel.
And so it is that a Chicken named Rihanna and a Dog, named after a Roman Emperors wife, (rumored to have poisoned her own husband) have developed a symbiotic relationship on our farm. Rihanna roosts in the shed every night, knowing Livie’s presence keeps predators away. And she doesn’t let Livie “play” with her, saving Livie from any more “don’t kill chicken” training sessions.