Grit Blogs > Waking up in Kansas

Furry and Feathered Friends Welcome

By K.C. Compton

Tags: chickens, dogs, ducks, eggs, hatchlings,

Here I am, smack in the middle of an “I Love Where I Work” moment. At this time of year, I have a lot of those.

This morning a staff member for our sister publication, Mother Earth News, brought in his Barred Rock broody hen to be a foster mom for editor Cheryl Long’s fertilized Welsummer eggs that just arrived in the mail. As I got myself situated in my office, instead of hearing the usual coffee gossip, I heard the peeping of a brand-new chick and the oohs and aahs of co-workers peering into the box to get a glimpse of the mom and babies.

Broody hen with chicks

Newly hatched baby chicks

Throughout the day, the chicks have hatched and now we have six new Welsummers, ready to start their lives on Cheryl’s farm (and soon to produce those fabulous, dark-brown speckly eggs for which their breed is so famous.)

It’s like that around here. Every few days, someone in this building brings in a critter – often, these days, it’s Hank and his new puppy, Henry, who stole every heart on this side of the office the day he showed up looking for all the world like a baby hedgehog and not the ferocious Cairn terrier we’re assured he actually is. So far, poor Henry’s four little paws barely touch the ground when Hank brings him in because someone is holding Henry practically the entire day.

Cairn terrier Henry

This time of year a lot of people are getting chicks and ducklings, so we’ll frequently hear lots of cheeping, since having chicks delivered to the office makes more sense than risking not being home when the USPS guy shows up. This year we have our famous Chicken Project, which Hank will talk about a lot more in his blog, The Daily Commute, and in the magazine, so I expect a whole lotta cheepin’ going on very soon. We’re testing incubators, brooders and, ultimately, for a few of our feathered pals, a plucker (I expect to be away on urgent business that day, thanks).

Puppies, kittens and stray animals of one kind or another are fairly commonplace. One spring, one of the women in Customer Care brought in her Babydoll sheep lamb twins, decked out in little disposable diapers to keep them socially acceptable. So far, we haven’t had any calves or piglets, but around here, you never know. I have threatened to have a metallic sign made for my car, “K.C.’s Roadside Rescue” for the number of stray dogs I pick up from the side of the road.

I do truly love working someplace where feathered and four-legged friends occasionally make up part of the workforce. This probably makes me functionally unemployable at most places on the planet. Good thing I love my job.

Come to think of it, my neighbors are getting some piglets in a few days. Hmmm … I wonder …

Chicken photos courtesy Troy Griepentrog; Henry photo courtesy Gina Souders.

4/24/2009 7:30:49 AM

Great post. I recently put ducks in my backyard and am loving it! I wish more people would get chickens or ducks. Awesome to take animals to work!

cindy murphy
4/8/2009 12:35:57 PM

Hi, KC. Chickens and dogs; both have been part of my "I Love Where I Work" moments too.....the dogs more than the chickens, I admit. The nursery used to have a whole menagerie of domesticated animals roaming around...sometimes, I think, just to entertain both the employees and customers. There was a horse, donkey, dogs, chickens, and Jerry the Rooster who thought he was store personnel. And he liked to let it be known to everyone who flapping up on the counter to cock-a-doodle-doo loudly as I was trying to answer the now-puzzled customer's question on the other end of the phone. Hawks got the chickens, Lucky the dog turned out not to be so lucky, old-age took the horse, the donkey was given to a farm which had more of its own kind, the daughter took the boa-constrictor (did I mention the snake?), and Jerry left to cock-a-doodle-doo among hens who, I'm sure, found it more charming than I did. Except for the rabbits and deer, which act domesticated though they're not, we are currently animal-less. Sadly, Toby, the Gentle Giant of a yellow lab and an iconic figure at the nursery, died last Wednesday. He'll be missed by staff and customers alike. Sometimes, as in Toby's case, it's difficult having animals in the workplace...only because it's so hard to say goodbye.

kc compton_1
4/8/2009 10:36:34 AM

Thanks, Brent! Maybe you can convince the Powers that Be that a few chickens in the backyard is actually the American Way!!! At any rate, we're happy we can keep giving you little tastes of the country. Have you checked out our CU site where people submit their photos? That'll give you a great source of country wallpaper for your computer, at the very least. :=] --K.C. Compton

brent _1
4/7/2009 7:50:58 PM

This is a fantastic post -- and makes me even fonder of all things Grit! Where we live, we can't keep chickens in our town never mind in our offices! Cheers, Brent