Meet a Member: Boots the Rescued Chicken Becomes Beloved Family Pet
Griffin, a vegetarian, was mortified to think of a hen being used as coyote bait. She was also, coincidentally, raising several hens in her row house. So she asked the hunter if he would let her have the hen. He agreed.
When Sam saw the hen, she was shocked. "I didn't think she would make it," Griffin says. "She was so tiny and she had pneumonia. Her feet were badly infected. She was missing all but one toe on each foot."
But Griffin was determined to save the quirky little bird that she named Boots. "I gave her antibiotics," she says, "and I bandaged her feet every other day."
While Boots was convalescing, she lived in a big dog crate in Griffin's kitchen. Soon, the plucky hen had the rule of the roost: At 6 a.m. each day, Boots loudly clucked for her oatmeal breakfast. Finally, with her strength building, it was time to let Boots roam.
"I got her a diaper and let her out for forays around the house," Griffin says. "She would steal shiny stuff and hide it. She loves cooked broccoli so she would swoop down from her favorite spot on top the refrigerator to steal it and smash it to bits on the floor into bite size pieces.
"She's a tough little hen," Griffin says proudly.
Late last year, inspired, in part by Boots's spirit, Griffin packed up the hens and moved to rural Virginia, where she has a sort of mini-farm now of 40 chickens and seven turkeys.
Boots, too, has added to the fold. When Griffin noticed Boots had begun sneaking under her bed to lay eggs, she brought home a boyfriend for her, a rooster named Bill. Persnickety Boots ignored Bill completely – at first. But the two now have three daughters, Shoes and Sandals, who are, Griffin says, "carbon copies" of their mama, and a new chick, Slippers, hatched just weeks ago. Tiny Boots is a fiercely protective mother who, Griffin says, has clucked her way to the top of the little farm's pecking order, adding that "even my gigantic rooster is afraid of her!"
Though she's a busy mother now with a family of her own, Boots makes time for her human hero. "She still has a tender spot for me," Griffin says. "She allows me to pick her up and carry her around."
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