Photo by Carol Ann Sayle
The three hens, all White Leghorns, were starlets in an "indie" movie. After the chicken scene wrapped up, the producers showed up at our farm with the "washed up" extras. No second casting call for them, apparently. The people said that the hens had laid an egg or two, but perhaps that was not a judgment on their acting performances, but simply an assertion that they were ready for an alternative career.
It was not disclosed to me whether or not the damsels' morals had been compromised by their Hollywood experience, and while I couldn't help but wonder what they had to do to get the roles, the operational information for me was that the snow-white hens were young, looked healthy, and were bearing eggs. White Leghorns, deserving of the honor of being named the official bird of the United States of America, if only for their sheer numbers, are perhaps the most productive, year-round laying hens. Their white eggs fill shelves of every grocery store everywhere.
Generally relegated to huge barns stuffed with thousands of small cramped cages, these three, miraculously, had been saved for the backyard flock trade (perhaps they showed talent early), and so they had intact beaks. Industrial laying hens get the debeaking treatment as chicks. Obviously, sharp instruments can't be allowed in commercial cages crowded with stressed-out hens.