For the Love of a Chicken….. February 13, 2012

Lenore on my shoulder, showing off her fluffy stuff

Her name is Lenore and she is far more than “just a chicken.” She is my heart and an incredible light in my life. I have 25 hens, but there is only one Lenore.

She is a Speckled Sussex and whenever I look at her she has her head cocked sideways so she can look up and see me. She is always thinking the same thing – I can see it in her eyes, and it goes something like “Ya got any blueberries? worms? blackberries?”

Before I fenced in my chickens she use to peck on the glass storm door, the door would open just a crack and I would slip her a berry, quickly and quietly doing it so that the other chickens wouldn’t notice. Then 30 minutes later there would come more pecking at the front door and another sweet berry would slip through.

When I sit down she hops in my lap and when I put my arms around her and start to rock, she takes a nap in my arms every afternoon. I stroke her gently while she sleeps and her feathers are so silky soft it warms my heart.

These are moments that are soul-satisfying and fill my chest with love for a chicken. But it’s more than that, far more, for when they told me a couple years ago I had terminal cancer I knew I was in real trouble. By earthly standards I am a old woman and my children are middle-age and the grand children, grown. My work is done. So it was a time in life when it might be acceptable to pass on, but when I thought of Lenore, all bets were off. I was NOT going to die and leave that chicken.

It was an incredible experience during the days and months that followed, for as an old woman I might have acquiesced, but at the thought of Lenore and all her coop buddies – strength of such magnitude I can not describe would come to me. My back would straighten, my head would rise and my spirit would soar. “I am NOT going to leave that chicken.”

So thanks to Lenore, a million prayers from family, friends, strangers and the incredible wonders of medicine I am here today with a life expectancy that should leave Lenore well taken care of for the rest of her life. For once you’ve loved a chicken, you have to hang in there for the long haul.

28 Comments
Coco Rogers February 13th, 2012

I love this story with all my heart. It’s obvious Lenore is a special bird, and I’m so glad you have each other!

Jill February 13th, 2012

Oh, thank you! We have a Lenore, too! Her name is Dinah Moh and she taps the window for chunks of bread. We have new babies coming in March. One will absolutely be named Lenore!

Ozark Homesteader February 13th, 2012

I do not have enough superlatives to declare how incredibly inspiring your story is, Joyce. Lenore is a beautiful bird but also, clearly, an angel.

Danuta February 13th, 2012

What a lovely story Joyce- & Lenore sounds like a very special bird & friend! God bless both of you

Danuta February 13th, 2012

Thank you for sharing Joyce!

Heather February 13th, 2012

Bless your heart! I never thought a chicken could be so special. How wonderful to have that relationship to pull you through! My best wishes for your continued health <3

Drumstick Diva February 14th, 2012

What a beautiful story – I hope you and Lenore live long, happy, healthy lives..

Audrey February 14th, 2012

I had a Lenore, too. She was the runt and lowest of the low on the pecking order, but not with me, my boys or the neighborhood children. She was a favorite. To loose her was difficult, but so glad she was part of our lives. I wish there was a love button, not just a like button. Be well!

Janna February 14th, 2012

What a great message about the power of love. Thank you for sharing! Everyone should have a Lenore in their lives!

Steven February 14th, 2012

You go Mom,

Love from all your children

shynewilliams February 14th, 2012

This is a nice story. I just love chickens so I really appreciate people who love them. Wikichicken.com would be my favorite chicken website when it comes to cooking but this would be my favorite when it comes to chicken being a pet. I’m glad I found this.

Chris February 15th, 2012

Love, love your story. So glad you are doing well. May you and Lenore have a nice long life together. We only recently got into chickens and are amazed at the personalities and fun!

Shelby February 15th, 2012

I love you Grandma, and I love your story but like I said before. I still need you!!! <3

Barb Carter February 23rd, 2012

My favorite of our four is Coco, my Speckled Sussex. She is at the very bottom of the pecking order, and the others peck her continually, especially when food is involved. She is so docile that she never pecks others and just runs away, not defending herself. She ends up being a loner, which breaks my heart. She closes her left eye a lot since last week. I wonder if she got pecked in the eye. I can’t see any damage, but i worry since when it is closed our mean Dominique attacks her.
This is like dealing with human “mean girls” picking on your daughter. Any thoughts?

Joyce February 25th, 2012

Hi Barb,
I can well imagine how it hurts your heart to have your dear Coco picked on by the other birds. The eye is the quickest healing part of the body so hopefully by now it is better but if it is not, you can go to the vet and get a small tube of triple anti-biotic ointment for eyes only, and put it in her eyes. With my animals, horses, dogs and chickens I find it cures most infections overnight. Great stuff and nice to have on hand, It is the same thing they use in humans.

Regarding the Mean Girls thing – I can hardly stand the pain from this distance and perhaps I have a solution for that. It is called Pick No More Lotion. Two years ago I had one young chicken being picked on unmercifully by her five buddies and she wanted to be with them so badly. It was indeed a painful thing to watch. Finally I had enough, and got the Pick No More Lotion and just slathered it on her. Man oh day that was the end of that. Once those mean girls get a taste of that they do NOT go back for a second helping. It is a tar like substance and you could put it on her in the areas you think they are most likely to peck her – perhaps the back of the head? If a little doesn’t help then go for more. I really put a lot on my young chick’s back and it only took that one application which lasted several days to teach the pack that she was the worst tasting thing on earth. We sell the Pick No More Lotion on our site under Chicken Health and I consider it one of the finest products on earth and a must for every chicken owner. It is supposed to be put on wounds because once chickens see blood on another chicken they keep pecking at it. But as you see I did successfully use it on a healthy chicken just to teach my Mean Girls a good lesson. Let’s hope this works for you and Coco. My love and best wishes to you both,

Warmest regards,
Joyce

Wendi March 21st, 2012

Joyce,
You are wonderful, inspiring, sweet, and very knowledgeable. I am so glad that I found this website!!
Bless you and your chickens!!!

Donna Baker March 21st, 2012

Joyce,
Thank you for this story! This is a true example of the power of love.
After talking to you today, I’m thinking You are as special as Lenore! May God Bless You!

Janet June 29th, 2012

Joyce,
You are an inspiration to me. I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and will soon be having surgery and rthen radiation. I am concerned that I will not have enough strength to care for my small flock. But, your story gives me courage if you can do it I can too.
Thanks, I needed this. May you stay healthy and happy and may your and Lenore live long lives together.

Joyce June 29th, 2012

Hi Janet,

You go, Janet, with your head up and your back straight and all the love and appreciation for yourself you can muster. There about a trillion cells in your body that definitely respond to positive thinking. Eat lots of fruit especially blueberries. You will be oh so tired but that will pass. I will be definitely be keeping you safe in my prayers.

Vena July 5th, 2012

Dear Joyce, what a special story. You are a very knowing spirit. Chickens are indeed smart, loving,entertaining and remarkable friends! My Lenore was named Bettye the 3rd, after my mom who loved chickens in her life. We called this little Old English game hen “Tipi” for short. She perched on my shoulder and lived in our kitchen. She loved to watch Bonanza everyday on the couch. I had become disabled after getting her so she was a real gift and friend. I’m so glad you have Lenore. My Tipi is gone now, but my new girl is Amelia and she lives in the kitchen too. You would definitely be a “happy hour” friend of mine! I’ll pray for your recovery.

Kristy July 21st, 2012

What a sweet story – and picture to go with it! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

Crystell August 21st, 2012

Joyce, You are a pleasure to talk to and know to read your blogs you are a inspiration. You have a wonderful writing style that keeps my interest. Your lease on life is so encouraging. Thank you for educating me on my new found love of chickens, they bring a very broad range of joys to our lives.
Your wonderful,
Crystell

Faye October 18th, 2012

Chickens are a new-found love for me in my now youthful 70’s. I bought 6 buff orpington hens (1 yr old), and two of them have pretty raw backs from aggressive roosters, I believe, with inch or so round, ‘pink’ areas lateral on each side of the back. They are not yet comfortable to come up close to me, so I sprayed them this morning with an MMS solution to see if that would help them. Do you think Pick No More is appropriate, since it may be that the areas are conducive to pecking? Also, I would like to have a rooster so as to have chicks naturallly in the spring, but I hate their aggressive behavior that destroys the hen’s feathers. Has anyone experience to share on incorporating a rooster into the flock? I was thinking of keeping him separately until springtime, and getting him to know & trust me meantime. Is that sound??? Thanks for your input, and glad to have found this site..

Bill December 19th, 2012

Joyce, you were so kind and pleasant helping me with my order this morning and telling me about Lenore (since I ordered a Speckled Sussex) that I wanted to see your story. Just lovely and heart warming… you are lucky to have such a wonderful pet. I hope my little hen will be just as sweet. Thanks so much and all the best to you and Lenore.

Debbie December 26th, 2012

Yes, Joyce, what would Lenore do without you? You ‘hear’ and ‘see’ her for the special creature that she is. Thank you for sharing your light from Lenore(who is reflecting the light within you too). : )

wendy February 28th, 2014

That made me cry. Im taking care of sick 6 day old delaware with wry neck. She falls asleep in my hand. Joyce you have been amazing talking to me and giving me advise about chicken breeds, chicken care,. adding chickens to my order over and over and talking about life in general, including what horse my fiance should ride with his bad back from being a firefighter. God bless you Joyce and keep you in good health.

Jackie Easterling January 12th, 2017

What a beautiful story…amor omnia vincit. Love conquers all.

Donna January 12th, 2017

Truly they become our loved pets. They each have a special place some more than others, like your Lenore

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