The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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April 10, 2013

BICKER: A chicken education

"On the Road Again” seems to be the song my chicken and I are clucking these days.

Henny and I recently were invited to give two chicken programs at the Felix Adler Children’s Discovery Center.

I plucked my favorite chicken from the coop after work Wednesday and gathered up all of our props for the program.

Henny is no stranger to public appearances. She accompanied me when I gave a program at the Sarah Harding Home last fall.

Henny is a remarkable chicken, friendly and calm, which makes for a wonderful ambassador for Klucker Farms.

When Henny and I arrived at the Discovery Center, we were greeted by its friendly staff and anxious children who were eager to learn more about this little chicken. Henny and I had a crowd of about 16 children who asked a plethora of questions.

The kids were amazed that my chickens were shipped in the mail, in a tiny box, to my local post office. My audience of youngsters also was amazed, that in just four short months, these little chicks were fully grown and starting to lay eggs. What amazing creatures.

To my surprise, and delight, there was one little girl, Faith, in the crowd who lived on a farm and raised her own chickens. Her poultry knowledge was very impressive; she knew just as much as I did. It was cool to see a little child so thrilled about her chickens at home.

One part of my hen’s anatomy generated a lot of curiosity that day — her comb. To my surprise, no one, except Faith, knew what it was. Some members of my audience gave me some pretty good guesses as to what that strange floppy thing on top of her head was including a mohawk.

Yes, a mohawk. Pretty clever, huh? I thought so.

In addition to my hen, I also brought an egg scale to show the kids that there can be different sizes of eggs. They were absolutely mesmerized when I weighed a medium, large and jumbo-size egg.

The program ended with petting Henny. I think the kids were anxiously waiting for this moment the whole time. The kids were very cute — they couldn’t believe how soft she was. One little girl melted my heart when she told me this was the first chicken she had seen up close and personal and how much it meant to her. She was in absolute awe of this little bird who was just soaking in all of the attention.

Henny even got a kiss too from one admirer.

On Friday, Henny and I returned again for Fun Time Friday with a group of interested toddlers and preschoolers. I had two very good helpers that morning, Phoebe Levine, who is the daughter of Herald Associate Editor Scott Levine, and Abby Gabriel, my soon-to-be niece. The kids were very interested in Henny and I think the most enjoyable part of the program came when they got to pet her.

I had a great time at the Discovery Center; their staff was great. I can’t thank them enough. I hope they will invite us back again soon.

Angie Bicker has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2001. She can be reached at angiebicker@clintonherald.com.

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