While the pandemic-induced lockdown left everyone marooned in their quarters for nigh onto a year, it also presented people with an opportunity to think outside that box. Some took to posting on social media unabashed renditions of songs with altered lyrics articulating the angst of our strange times. Others resurrected the forgotten artist residing within, creating artworks worth preserving. Pet sales soared across the world as people found themselves in urgent need of companionship. But the ones whose need was most dire were the parents with homebound children whom circumstances had compelled to dig deep within their creative selves to hatch novel tasks designed to educate and entertain their young ones.
Here is the tale of one such family, delivered from their domestic entrapment in a most delightful and unexpected way.
Ee I ee I o
Once upon a pandemic time, a family of four relocated from Dallas, Texas, to DeLand, Florida, trading their urban condo for a rustic, immersed-in-nature dwelling. It was the perfect getaway (assuming your goal was to, well, get away). The ranch-style home came with acres of virgin land, an outhouse, a pool and, most enchanting of all, a chicken coop, complete with feathery inhabitants pre-installed. Before long, the two children became versed in the art of taking care of their treasured animals, like responsible almost-adults. They fed the chickens, collected eggs with gentle hands, and played with them often. Proud of their small but growing flock, they informed their parents they were going to need a bigger coop.
Free as a Bird
But over time, keeping track of their feathered, free-ranging pets proved to be no easy task. Indeed, several members of their troupe revealed themselves to be quite gifted escape artists. While the children were attending online classes, some of those chickens “flew the coop,” as it were, making a regular habit of scooting off to mingle with the denizens of neighboring pens. The siblings were confident in their ability to identify their pets by sight before the animals ended up breaded and fried in what they described, with exaggerated shrieks of horror, as a “Sanders Special.”
Nevertheless, disputes still occasionally erupted over ownership rights. They discovered that their Beeg Burd with wattles that resembled pepperoni looked a lot like the plump chicken with red plumage next door.
And Amelia Eggheart—an astounding flier on land, but a terrible one over ponds and other bodies of water—could well be the twin of a bantam living across the dirt road that separated the two homes.
Birds of a Feather
To solve the problem, the two children, aged 10 and 7, improvised a solution. In a burst of what they considered genius, they tied red ribbons to the left legs of all their chickens. However, the following morning, much to their dismay, they found shreds of crimson ribbon strewn across the enclosure. Only one chicken, named Eggnog, a plump and stately Buff Orpington hen, had refrained from pecking off the ribbon (no doubt because such a display of obstinate defiance would not have been dignified).
The Chicken Leg Band Solution
After extensive research, the brother and sister concluded that sturdier chicken leg bands were the answer to their poultry identification issues. They reasoned that lightweight aluminum or brass bands could be attached securely to chicken legs, and settled on metal bands because they were convinced such bands would last longer than plastic ones. Best of all, besides lasting a long time, they were affordable and could even be custom-made to order. And much to the relief of the siblings, they ascertained that metal chicken leg bands do not hurt the animals or cause any discomfort. Only one question remained….
Who Makes the Best Chicken Leg Bands?
That question was easily answered in a trice. Why, Ketchum Mfg. Co., of course! This famed outfit’s chicken leg bands (not to mention poultry wing bands) were reputed to be as safe and durable as can be. To ensure accurate identification, they came in brass, plain aluminum, or varicolored aluminum (some people find it easier to read the imprint on colored chicken leg bands). All bands were adjustable and easy to affix.
After calling around to the experts in the neighborhood, the kids were advised to use the special chicken leg band plier offered by Ketchum instead of a needle-nose plier for a secure and permanent fitting. When the band is attached correctly, they were told, chickens tend to take little note of the accessory.
Over time, the two children came to learn that chicken leg bands are especially beneficial for large flocks and mixed-breed hatchery birds as well. If chickens are interbred too often for too many generations, unfavorable genetic and infertility issues may arise. Using chicken leg bands, one can create groups within a large flock without the added cost of erecting multiple enclosures. Breeders often use chicken leg bands to identify their animals and separate sick birds. Different chicken leg bands help identify birds to breed, mark genetic traits, and indicate different lines. And of course they are essential for keeping records of ages, pedigree, and birth rates (and for that purpose one must remember to keep a log of what each type/color of chicken leg band denotes).
The siblings in Florida are happy to report that every member of their flock is safe and accounted for—thanks to their Ketchum Mfg. Co. chicken leg bands!