B.C. couple goes on ‘chicken wrangling mission’ to give Lucky a new home

Lucky (front) and Olive in their chicken run. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Lucky strolls through her chicken run in the winter sun. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Susan Caldbeck trying to entice her chickens out into the open. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Susan Caldbeck holding her chicken Olive. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Olive (front) and Lucky spending some time in their coop. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Susan Caldbeck with her donkeys on her Agassiz farm. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Pink Cadillac checking to see if the photographer is willing to give out some scratches. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Susan Caldbeck stood at the edge of the chicken wire fence on her Agassiz farm, a bucket of blueberries and seed in hand. Around her were a number of donkeys — rescue donkeys, prize-winning donkeys and one donkey with scoliosis in her back — but Caldbeck didn’t pay attention to them. She only had eyes for the chickens.

“Olive. Lucky. Girlies,” she said, calling out to the two chickens in a high pitched voice reserved for pets and small children. “Where’s my chickens?”

The long, low bawck of an unimpressed chicken rose from the coop. Then, the white and red head of a Leghorn peered out.

“Oh hello Lucky,” Caldbeck said, smiling. She tossed some seeds into the run, and Lucky pecked them up, then looked around as if to ask ‘Where’s my blueberries?’

It seemed a pleasant life for a chicken, but it hadn’t been long ago that Lucky was not quite so lucky.

In early January, 55-year-old Caldbeck was looking through Facebook when she saw a post from woman who had found a chicken underneath her trailer.

RELATED: What makes chickens happy? University of Guelph researchers try to find out

“It was the rainstorm right before the snowstorm,” Caldbeck remembered. Normally, she said, she would have passed the post by.

“But then she’s like, ‘Some cat’s going to get this chicken,’” she said. “I’m like, really? That’s the end of it?”

Comments on the Facebook post about putting the chicken in a pot also pushed her to do something.

“This poor chicken has survived some pretty traumatic stuff already,” Caldbeck said. “She deserves a chance to live.”

“So my poor husband got home 20 minutes later, and I’m like, ‘Come on, let’s go, we’re going on a chicken wrangling mission.’”

YLucky (front) in her coop with fellow chicken Olive. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

The pair went over with a fishnet, and eventually cornered the rain-soaked chicken, scooped her up and took her home.

“She was so skinny,” Caldbeck said. “I have no idea where she came from.

“Somebody said maybe she’s a spent chicken,” she added, “so she’s finished laying her eggs and she’s going to get slaughtered.”

That didn’t deter Caldbeck though. Nor did the fact that, although she and her husband had been nominated farmers of the year when they lived in Aldergrove for their donkey breeding, she had never owned chickens before.

SEE ALSO: Old ‘Harrison Hot Springs Hotel’ panel truck returns to area

“I have no clue what to do with a chicken,” she said, laughing. “Give me a donkey, a horse, you know.”

Caldbeck put Lucky up in a dog kennel they converted into a chicken coop and set about creating a home for the chicken.

Her husband, called “Poor Dave” by Caldbeck’s friends, built and rebuilt a roost for Lucky 12 times. Calbeck went out and bought 88 pounds of food, because she wasn’t sure which kind of chicken feed Lucky liked best. And of course, they went out and got a friend for Lucky as well.

Olive, a deep brown chicken with flecks of black and white on her feathers, came to live with Caldbeck shortly after Lucky arrived.

With Olive’s companionship and Caldbeck’s love, Lucky prospered. Thanks to Caldbeck’s posts in the Life in Agassiz Facebook group, she became a local internet celebrity. And along the way, she found that she wasn’t a spent chicken after all.

Since Valentine’s Day, Caldbeck has gotten more than a dozen eggs from the two chickens.

“I actually told them they didn’t have to lay eggs,” Caldbeck said, laughing. “The thought of giving birth every day just seems like a really bad idea to me.”

Caldbeck hasn’t eaten any of the eggs yet — “it’s kind of weird,” she said — but has plans to increase her flock to get eggs of all different colours.

“They have to be fancy chickens if they’re going to live here. Other than Lucky,” Caldbeck added. “She’s just a boring old Leghorn, but that’s okay.”



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

West Kootenay RCMP charge man with impaired driving in school zone

Sgt. Chad Badry reports on impaired drivers and other high risk offences

Company granted leave to appeal Lemon Creek charges

Executive Flight Centre won a decision in the BC Court of Appeal

Kaslo bus fueled by vegetable oil to begin service next month

Mountain Man Mike’s will run routes to Vancouver and eventually Edmonton

Police investigating felling of old cedars at Cottonwood Lake

One of the cedars was 300 to 450 years old

Castlegar non-profit’s stolen van located

Kootenay Society for Community Living’s van was stolen May 14.

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

B.C. sends 267 firefighters to help battle Alberta wildfires

Out of control fires have forced evacuations in the province

Calgary Police looking for missing man who may be heading to B.C.

A man last seen on May 15 in Calgary may be heading to the Kootenay region, according to police

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Most Read