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Chicken raisers are no dumb clucks

Question: What adjective best describes chickens without beaks?

Answer: Impeccable.

That’s the first joke this columnist can remember writing. It was in the third grade – and was the runner-up in a class “original riddle writing” contest.

The first place entry was this one:

Question: “What kind of pins are found in a soup?”

Answer: “Terrapins.”

I remember bristling with indignation when the winner was announced. My riddle may not have been superior, but it was original. The winning riddle was a rip-off of one The Riddler had spoken in a Batman comic book.

I knew this to be true, because I had that very comic book hidden in my school desk. It left me in the awkward position of exposing the plagiarizing riddle winner – or admitting to the teacher that I’d brought comic books to school.

So I bit my tongue and accepted the consolation prize. It was my first actual taste of a miscarriage of justice.

But I’ve made peace with it. It doesn’t matter anymore. Really. Hardly ever think about it. I’ve moved on.

Speaking of chickens – which I did several sentences ago – my wife and I recently acquired two chickens. Live ones. That cluck. And, yes, peck.

If you live in Bellevue, you can have up to six chickens, as long as the coop is at least 15 feet from your property line. And 50 feet from a KFC.

If you only have six hens, they’re classified as pets. But you will be responsible if they attack mailmen or chase cars. Posting a “Beware of Chickens” sign is a good idea.

Only hens are allowed in Bellevue – no roosters. This ordinance is just another example of the on-going advance of women’s rights.

My grandpa always used to say that a not-too-bright fellow was “dumber than a chicken.” As a new member of the “Poultry Anti-Defamation League,” I’m here to say that if grandpa were still around, he would owe chickens everywhere an apology.

Our two chickens seem nearly as smart as dogs and cats – and perhaps the equal of some of the humans I know – especially a certain cousin whom I will not name.

Plus chickens tend to smell better than Cousin Jerry. Oops.

OK, maybe a chicken isn’t as smart as certain dogs like Lassie.

TIMMY: “Henny Penny! I’ve fallen down a well! Go get help!”

And I’m not saying a chicken would score well in an SAT exam. But maybe high enough to get into broadcast school. Even so, it’d probably take the chicken five years to graduate.

Hens offer a huge bonus as pets: They provide eggs for breakfast. A good layer can crank 'em out once a day.

My wife and I also are custodians of two horses. There is nothing that either of them lays each day that you’d want for breakfast.

So kudos to chickens – who have other talents. For one thing, they can fly. Not as high as eagles – but a lot higher than any dumb terrapin could even dream of.

Sorry. Guess I’m not really over it.

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