My Job

This morning I drove to the Abby Kelly Foster Charter School in Worcester, MA. Agatha came, too.

I read Tillie Lays an Egg.

Agatha listened and was as well-behaved as the incredibly polite and attentive first graders.

Agatha showed off chicken feet (like a dinosaur’s!) and ears, feathers and her beak (birds don’t have teeth!)

Agatha sat in my lap while every child came up, one by one, to pet her. She chortled, she looked, she never once pecked. My good hen and I did this program three times, for about 100 children and teachers in all.

As I was leaving, a little girl handed me this picture and gave me a hug.

I have the best job in the world.


  1. How rewarding! Indeed, what a wonderful “job” you have.

  2. I taught kindergarten and first grade for 32 years many years ago and had many many different animals in the classroom and remember what a wonderful experience it was for the children. Once I had a bantam hen sit on eggs in the classroom and they hatched. What a great experience for all.

    Thanks for your part in helping Children experience the wonders of animals.

  3. How wonderful! I look forward everyday to read the Hen Blog. It brightens my day. I watch the goat cam while I eat my lunch at work. What a treat for me.

  4. What a wonderful experience for the kids to be able to go home and say they pet a chicken. I bet it opens their eyes!

  5. Awwww. I bet your heart just melted. There are only a few of us who get to do what they love. How lucky we are. And those kids… They will remember the day the chicken lady brought her hen to class, and they got to pet her and hear her “talk” …probably for the rest of their lives. What a wonderful gift you are giving them.

    I notice a chick chart of some sort on the wall, and little chicks in a line below the white board. Are these part of your presentation? It looks as if each child might have put their name on a chick – maybe.

    Agatha is a very good hen, indeed, to sail through being petted by 100 people in a day without complaint!

  6. Hi Terry,

    It looks like you had a great day! Love those kids! Quick question. Out of my 8 hens I have one hen that’s loosing feathers on her head. It’s not bleeding and doesn’t look raw. How do I tell if it’s mites or if she’s being picked on? Should I cover her head with duck tape or antibiotic ointment? Thank you!

  7. This is wonderful. We are new chicken owners of about four weeks and what it has brought us is immeasurable. My four year old has learned so much and my 14 year old is fascinated by them. My husband just enjoys watching them and I of course am in love. Chickens are great animals.

  8. Terry,

    I just went in to inspect the Hen whose lost feathers on her head and as soon as I picked her up I noticed she was losing feather from underneath. I got a good look and found her underneath to be red on one side. Maybe mites? I couldn’t see anything so I’m not sure what my next move should be. thanks for all your help!

    • Hi Kristin – it’s really impossible for me to tell what’s going on from here without seeing and handling her. You’d usually notice mites near the vent area first. Do a google search for mites and you’ll find plenty of photos – I don’t have any as I’ve never had a mite problem here. My best guess is that something else is going on. Can you sit and watch flock dynamics for awhile? Watch at roosting time? There should be more clues.

  9. Thanks Terry, I’ve been watching them all day and I do plan to go out again now that they’ve settled down. I really appreciate you getting back to me.

    • do you ever rub oil into your roosts and or the hens legs? that helps deter mites and keeps the hens legs clear of mites too making it harder for them to gain purchase on the hens body (assuming this is mites)

      • I’m totally new to this. My hens will be a year the end of April. They’ve all been very healthy. I keep up with cleaning the coop on a regular basis (weekly, and monthly I wash it down when the weather is nice, its due). I put a mixture of Vaseline, tea tree oil and vit. E on her head and underside last night. Her head seems a little better, but she’s still losing feathers underneath and has red spots? When I checked on her a couple of times last night no one was picking on her and I couldn’t see any mites or lice. Didn’t see any now either, checked the vent too. Puzzled, but she seems o.k. otherwise. Appreciate your comments

          • i don’t have a clue either and apparently i’m not such a great backyard vet as starting today and literally out of nowhere i have a hen who’s making noises all day and now even into the night. they are all happily cooped up and roosting for the evening and it’s usually silent but this one hen, lowest in the pecking order, makes a single “uk” sound ever few minutes. i went out with a flashlight to see if it was mice disturbing the roost but everything is clear…consulted the Chicken Health Handbook and none of the “common” things sounds like anything she has. her eyes are clear and she appears completely healthy. so odd.

            at least these girls keep things interesting, right?

            • Some hens are talkers. I need to get a video of Onxy up. She hollers all morning until she lays an egg. ALL morning. Hours.

              • my talker is usually my Delaware. She is one bossy girl, too. I’m amazed every day by each girls personality; they are so different in personality and yet much of the time they are also all exactly alike in action. Kind of like people I guess :)

  10. What a wonderful day! And the kids will indeed remember the visit with Agatha and Terry (aka the chicken lady!) I find it just as encouraging to see adults’ enthusiasm when they realize that hens are individuals. (I’m awfully tempted to bring one of my girls to work one of these day for a show and tell. :)

  11. I say Terry, it does looks like you are having just as much fun as the kids, and you have found the perfect partner in Agatha! I can’t see from my small computer screen, but is Buffy fenced into the “dusting/straw” corner? If so, very clever: integrated into the flock, without danger of being bullied. She looks quite happy, but then, she always seems a placid old lady.

    • She’s now back with them. They still peck her head a bit, and she doesn’t seem to want to get out of the way. But it hasn’t gotten bloody again. I’m keeping an eye on the old girl!

  12. Love Agatha’s traveling case. Very 1930’s looking and stylish like Agatha herself. I wish I had someone like you visit my school. It would have been great fun.