Library And School Visits With My Chickens

Although I was appalled by Tori Spelling’s outing with her chicken, and the press about house chickens, it’s not always wrong to take a chicken (or two) away from the flock. I have two  Bantam White Leghorns that frequently go on road trips with me.  I call them the “actresses who play Tillie.” When I do story times and school visits, one of them comes along. They are gentle, friendly birds who like to be handled. They are also independent and don’t get flustered when removed from the flock.This isn’t true for all of my chickens. The Australorps, Twinkydink and Blackie,  can’t bear to leave the barnyard. Lulu is an anxious bird and paces when away from home. The Golden Comets are active hens and get bored when confined to a crate. But Coco and Betsy, my two Bantam White Leghorns,  seem to enjoy the excursions.They are so small that I use a guinea pig crate for them to travel in. They particularly like that they have the food and water all to themselves. In the winter, they like that they are somewhere warm and preen and fluff and loll about in the clean shavings in the crate.

Magic happens when the children meet a chicken. A classroom of twenty fidgeting children stills.

Here I am, at the Groveland Public Library, explaining that different chickens lay different eggs. What an important lesson it is that the eggs that we eat come from living, unique animals!

I’d like to think that their rapt attention is due to  my ability to tell a story, but I know that in truth, it is the tiny white hen that holds their attention. At the end of the program, I put the chicken on my lap and I teach the children how to pet a bird -gently, softly, quietly and in the direction of the feathers. Then, one by one, they come up and pet Tillie. Everyone is quiet and respectful and careful. Magic.

My good little hen is rewarded with a bit of cracked corn and is soon home again, outside with her flock.

If you are interested in having me do a school or library visit, please email me for details. Teachers might also want to make use of suggestions on my teacher’s page.


  1. Beautiful and respectful education of our future adults and leaders. Thanks so much for everything you do. Please come to the West Coast. Smiles :o)

      • Sorry but this week is going to be very wet. We’re like you today, 41 degrees but expecting an inch of rain.

  2. You have to be a good story teller to get children that young to sit still and quietly.

    I see you travel with your chicken purse.

    • I keep chicken stickers that I hand out to the kids in that purse. Look closely – chicken necklace and earrings, too. For today’s preschool visit I’m wearing chicken socks.

  3. Chicken socks!!?? Where? I have to have some, do you know if they make them in mens?

    • Ah, my scatterbrained bird brains. I don’t travel with them. I need chickens that are calm around children. The Polish aren’t calm even at home!

      • Ah yes the very easily spooked Polish. Poor things go through life with tunnel vision. Terry have you walked up on one from the rear and ended up with a face full of chicken? They never see ya coming and as you walk past they fly up in panic!!

        • Yes, the poor things, but I so love their hairdo’s. But I have heard that Polish are flighty and nervous because they can’t see. And also that they are calmer than other chickens because they can’t see. I guess it depends of the bloodline, and puffy their feathers are. Minus triming and having to dust their puffs invidiual to get rid of mites are they more crazy than Lulu’s breed ?

          • Before combining the flocks, I gave the Polish pouf-trims so that they could see the hens and have some peripheral vision. It really helped the to cope with the change! Not sure if it is breed or just Lulu, but she beats them all.

            • Terry, I’ve had the Speckled Sussex breed before (just lost mine to a racoon attack in broad daylight a month ago) and I think they are a highly active breed. They seemed to always be scratching, searching, looking for something and under foot whin I’m in the coop and run.

  4. Terry,
    The kids will be amazed when you are able to show the VERY different colored eggs you get from the Welsummers you ordered. Everyone is drawn to the terracotta eggs, 2 of mine lay with speckles the other does not. When I share a 1/2 dozen, I make sure to have at least 2 Welsummer and 2 EE eggs (one is green and one is blue).

  5. My daughter read this just now and said, “Terry is soooo cool.” More than cool, you are an inspiration. Looking forward to your visit to Westport on the 30th. :)

    – Liz

    • I’m so looking forward to it! Heads up to my friends in Connecticut – I’ll be doing a story time AND doing a backyard chicken talk at Earthplace!

  6. Ahhh Terri, you are a natural! How wonderful to have the experience of sharing with the youth! Looks like you have had some snow then rain from the HenCam! Sure enjoy watching it and the goats. I went out and got me some little chicks for my backyard. Fresh, organic eggs sound awesome! I posted some pics on my blog.


  7. How gorgeous! I’ve looked out for your book at bookstores here in Aus but haven’t seen it. Kids do love chooks. Mine will spend hours cuddling their chooks or just hanging out on th elawn whlst the chooks peck around them. Instant calm and quiet in the household when everyone’s a bit grumpy.

    • I believe that it’s available on Australian Amazon. I know it’s in NZ. Yes, isn’t the affinity for kids and chickens wonderful to watch!