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Forty Years with Birds and Dogs 

Re-populating the Hen House

"You don't happen to have an extra hen or two?" I asked the friend who had taken Dexter the rooster. That poor, beat-up beauty had stimulated the effect that chickens have on some people--I had to have some again, as pets. "Sure," my generous friend said. "People are always asking me to take the hens they can't keep." So I brought two home with me.

Roosters were not allowed in town, but you could keep most other animals 100 feet from the "human dwelling" if they were not "livestock," whatever that meant. Now that I had two dogs to guard them, I could have chickens again. They would be kept safe from the neighborhood raccoons and cats. With Dexter happily boxing it out with his host rooster, I gleefully loaded into a holey cardboard box two "rescue" birds--an old red hen and a striped Araucana, who promptly laid a continuous supply of green eggs. Later I learned that my generous friend had been led astray by his dedication to the breeding of white Silkies. His wife never forgave him for giving away her best layer.

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