On the Farm

Dresses, Mud, and Chickens

“I’d never do that!”

There’s a statement that should come with a warning label. It often backfires.

Last December, a friend came to visit and suggested we watch the documentary, Chicken People. Now, I like my chickens. I think they’re entertaining and they provide fresh eggs. The people on the program LOVE their chickens. Of course, they have a purpose mine don’t. Their chickens are show chickens.

We laughed as the people washed and styled their chickens, preparing them for competition. Then I said it. “I’d never do that.”

Fast forward about a week. I went out to the coop and found Harriet, once black and white, now a horrid shade of brown. The other hens must have had a beef with her. They’d rolled her around in the mud. Her feathers were matted together with skin exposed between the clumps. And it was cold outside.

I finished feeding and watering, then went back inside my warm house. But the guilt was too much. Within half an hour, I was back at the coop collecting poor Harriet and bringing her in for a bath.

Last December I was also participating in Dressember. I wore a dress each day of the month to raise awareness and money to fight human trafficking. By the way, you can still donate to my fundraising page through January.

I cut a head hole and two arm holes out of a black plastic garbage bag and wore it like a raincoat over my dress.

Here’s something I didn’t expect: Chicken like a nice warm bath. Harriet sat perfectly still while I rinsed, shampooed, and rinsed her again.

Just as I was getting to the end of this ridiculous task, my daughters busted into the house. They burst out laughing, and the cell phones began snapping pictures.

FYI: I scrubbed the sink after this. 🙂

I could have kept this story to myself, but with photo proof out there, what’s the point. I thought I’d go ahead and tell it my way.

It was an act of MERCY! And I don’t plan to wash any more chicken, though I will if I need to.

By the way, Harriet loves me now.






Christina Suzann Nelson is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of six books, including More Than We Remember, What Happens Next, and the Christy Award-winning The Way It Should Be. She is the mother of six children and is passionate about helping others find hope after trauma.

One Comment

  • Coralee Hines

    Bathing Harriet was definitely the right thing to do! Thanks for sharing.
    Based on Camille’s recommendation, I will definitely be reading your book.

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