New Castle News

October 28, 2013

Fowl play: Stray chicken adopts Shenango Township couple

Gary Church
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — If you know Shenango Township resident John Marshall, you realize he is a roller coaster fanatic.

A good part of his summer is spent riding them at Cedar Point.

On Oct. 13, while at Cedar Point, his wife Billy-Jo received a text message from her son.

His text, “Do you have a chicken?”

Her son had ridden past their house, and saw a chicken roaming around in the yard.

John has a dog, but no chicken.

When they arrived home from Cedar Point, they were greeted by their new tenant, a lovely white chicken.

Billy-Jo knew a few neighbors had chickens, and went to their houses. She asked them if any of their chickens had “flown the coop?”

They all told her that the chicken was not theirs.

John ignored it for a few days, hoping it would go away.

It didn’t.

It would follow him around the yard, and run to greet him when he pulled in the driveway from work.

They started to become best friends, but John didn’t know a thing about chickens. His next move was to go to Agway to find out what his new buddy likes to eat.

In addition, he discovered that she adores miniature marshmallows.

It didn’t take John long to figure out what gender the chicken was. She presented him with a beautiful reddish/brown egg.

 It’s sort of like Easter every day at the Marshall residence. They have to search the bushes to find their eggs.

John tried them scrambled and said they taste like a normal chicken egg.

 Billy-Jo has not ventured into eating them as of yet. She’s probably like my wife. If it doesn’t come from the grocery store, she won’t eat it.

I decided to give John and Billy-Jo a visit. There I had my face-to-face meeting with Millie the chicken, short for Millennium, the roller coaster at Cedar Point.

If you think that’s bad, the dog’s name is Sandusky — after Sandusky, Ohio.

During my interview, I asked where Millie slept.

John had made a nice apartment for her in a dog box, but that’s not where Millie prefers to sleep. She roosts on the porch banister at night.

John says he plans on building a chicken coop for Millie, and purchase another hen for some company.

He says he had never planned on raising chickens, but Millie really likes it there, and doesn’t seem to want to go away.

You’re probably wondering, where is the gardening application in this week’s column.

Well, as I was leaving John’s house, Billy-Jo hit me with the earth shattering news.

She said, “Millie does all the weeding around the house. She has been eating all the greens in the flower beds.”

I guess Millie feels she has to do something to pay for her room and board.

Folks, this could be the answer to all your weeding problems. Just get a chicken.

No more getting down on your knees. No more mixing sprays. And as an added benefit, you get an egg a day.

I’m not sure how good their weed identification skills are, though.

Another thing you can use chickens for  — feed them your old stinkbugs. A lady told me they love them.

When I pulled in their driveway, John was photographing five turkeys that were walking through his yard. I told him, if he ever went to Alcatraz, he could be the new bird man there.

Millie was not bashful during the photo shoot. She cackled a few times when she got near me.

I think we bonded.

But that didn’t stop me from going home and having one of her relatives for dinner.

Make your space a green space.