I found my first Bantam White Leghorn, Snowball, at a poultry swap. Actually, my son found her and insisted we bring her home. I said, “This chicken is trouble.” I could see the spunk. Snowball inspired Tillie Lays an Egg. She died right before the book came out, but by then I already had two actresses, waiting in the wings, to play her part – Eggers and Betsy Ross. They were (and Betsy remains) good little birds, but neither matched Snowball’s aplomb or attitude, so I went looking for another. I found her at a poultry show. In a line-up of almost identical small white pullets, I recognized that look in Coco’s eyes. Spunk. It took quite a bit of cajoling, but I convinced the owner to sell.

Coco was gorgeous.

Coco was independent and self-assured. We traveled to NYC to go on the MARTHA show, and she was calmer than me while waiting to go onstage.

Coco maintained her stately airs in front of a live studio audience.

But, more important than her star turns was what she did at schools and libraries.

Coco was the perfect chicken ambassador and more than one child now has hens in their backyards because of her. Coco died this week and is buried in the meadow.

Did Coco (or Snowball) touch your life?


  1. Terry…Well… you made me cry at work today! What a wondersul and sweet tribute to Coco…I have a little white bantam just like her..small but mighty! Coco inspired me to teach kids about something they know nothing about..chickens and eggs. Everytime I read your book and we talk about eggs…I wish I could just do that part for a living. The questions they ask would take hours if I didn’t have to cut them off due to the time factor. Terry…you inspire all of us! Bless you and Coco!

  2. I’m sorry to read this Terry… I know you’ll miss her too.
    You were so lucky to find such a star and she certainly served you well.

    I’m sure you’ll have another star hen waiting in the wings.


  3. I always love a small animal with a big heart. Coco brought great joy and many laughs as she told the larger girls what’s what. I will miss watching her. You wrote a lovely remembrance.

  4. Terry, Coco touched and enriched my life enormously, as she did the lives of my family and students. My husband and I just shared a nice moment over the phone reflecting on the powerful bond between people and the sweet animals in ours lives. Jerry and I thank you for sharing lovable Coco with us over the years. Our thoughts are with you.

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss, Terry. Coco was beautiful. I’ll miss seeing her. You’ve had such a difficult year…thank you for sharing your experiences with us and for allowing us to share in your joys and sorrows. By making it so that we can know and love your birds, you’ve touched our lives, too.

    Wishing you much love.

  6. Terry,
    I’m sorry to hear that Coco passed away. Such a lovely tribute of her accomplishments. She was a beauty and was very lucky to have landed at Little Pond Farm. My thoughts are with you.

  7. Bless her little heart. She was just adorable and you gave her a wonderful life. The best indeed !

  8. Terry, I am so sorry to read of Coco’s death, please accept my sincere condolence. From all of us here at Dog Trot Farm, Julie.

  9. I’m so sorry to hear about Coco’s passing. Thank you, Terry, for sharing your chickens with us. You and your chickens have helped me prepare for my own flock.
    Take care,

  10. I am so sorry to hear about Coco. I have really enjoyed reading you blog.

  11. I’m so sorry to hear this news about Coco. She had a certain “pluck” that truly made her a special little girl. You’ve posted a wonderful tribute to her and her life of giving and teaching. She will be remembered fondly and missed.

  12. Well, dang…I was sorry to hear that Coco had died. I noticed that there was only one little white hen with the flock (we all do have a “checklist” you know, particularly at bedtime).

  13. I’m sorry for your loss Terry. I loved the pic of her perched on the towel rack, I think it was, at the hotel before the Martha show. She just owned that place! I will miss her too.

  14. Coco was quite the lady. I am so sorry to hear of her passing at just three years old. She was quite the beauty. And her spunk on taking on a your mistake Opal will always be in my memory. Poor Betsy, to have out lived two companions. I hope she is doing okay as well, and will soon have another companion that will be nice to her and so she won’t be the only little white hen in your coop. She really was the first hen I have seen that would perch on you like a parrot. May her spirit as I am sure Lulu’s had in Agatha come back to you soon.

  15. Sorry for your loss. She was a great little chicken. I don’t have any banties, but getting to know yours has always made me think about getting a couple of little hens.

  16. Terry
    Coco will surely be missed by all but her spirit will live on in your beautiful book Tillie Lays an Egg. I will think of her fondly every time I read it to my classes in the library

  17. Terry, I am so sorry about Coco. How sweet that she is buried in your meadow. The photos of her are so sweet. I know you and your girls are very inspirational. I think sitting in on a classroom to watch you and Coco with the children must’ve been very special.

  18. I always wonder how some individuals, whether animals or humans, can start out the same way, have basically the same experiences, but there are those that just stand out for their good-nature and extra dose of charisma. How is that? And how fortunate we are when we are the lucky ones to have that extra special individual in our lives for however long. Here’s hoping you find another Coco in your life soon.

  19. You and Coco have given so much enjoyment to others, bless Coco’s brazen little heart and your gentle spirit for sharing your wonderful life experiences with us.

  20. Oh Terry, I am so saddened by this news. I am sorry for your family’s loss. Thank you for sharing her with the world. She was a beautiful feathered soul inside and out.

  21. I have tears in my eyes. It’s so painful to lose beloved pets. Sometimes I think I should be pet free to avoid that inevitable pain. But they do bring such joy to us during their brief time on this earth.

  22. I am so sorry to hear about Coco……My thoughts are with you and her…..Touching tribute!!…xo

  23. So sorry to hear about Coco…. she will be missed by the HenCam viewers, the students & many others. Even from my virtual distance, she was an amazing little chicken with a wonderful personality. Sending you and the flock loving thoughts through this sad time.

  24. I am so sorry also. Coco inspired me to get a Banty Leghorn as well, mine is sweet also. What happened to Coco? Was she ill?

  25. I apologize, I just brought myself up to speed reading your blog, and read about Coco ailing…

  26. I am so sorry to hear about Coco. She was a pretty little girl that didn’t bat an eye when Martha stuck the clicker in her face and started clicking away. That made me laugh. Godspeed dear Coco.

  27. I appreciate everyone’s kind words. Just so you know, Betsy seems fine, well, as fine as a hen molting can be. She’s lost her tail feathers and looks particularly ragged, but it’s not to do with the loss of her look-alike. Betsy should be back in feather in time for our school visits. Also, because I know you’ll ask – I’m not getting another Bantam White Leghorn. A few of the Gems (Agatha in particular) have big personalities and I’ll be getting to know them.

    • And you have a big white hen with Opal as well, and not as small and as white as Coco was she might do for a Tillie as well.

  28. Awww, so sorry about Coco. I saw the Martha show, starring Coco (and you). At that time, I was at the Intense Research phase of chicken acquisition, and the most amazing thing to me about watching that show, was the way so many chickens (everyone in the audience had chickens sitting on their laps!) sat calmly amidst bright lights, loud noises, and all kinds of strange people and goings-on. I was relieved and intrigued and inspired. My hat is off to Coco (and you) — I found your blog long after watching the show, and didn’t realize right away you were the lady who wrote the chicken book. Coco definitely inspired me (and you too, of course).

  29. So sorry to hear about Coco. She was a character. We lost a hen this week too. Alexis went quickly and I really don’t know why. She seemed to have a slight wound on her butt which I cleaned and Blu-Koted. She was eating and acting normally but I found her dead in the coop the next morning.

  30. I’m playing catch-up with your blog…so sorry about Coco, having to say good-bye is always hard.