• Last modified 2318 days ago (Feb. 15, 2018)


Big Red the hen has an identity crisis

Staff writer

Mike and Jenny Hurst, like many families with small children, have a few pets at their home in the 800 block of N. Walnut St. in Peabody: two dogs, a rabbit, and a hen named Big Red who thinks she’s a dog.

Bid Red arrived because Mike’s parents, who live in the 100 block of N. Olive St. in Peabody, raised chicks the past couple of springs. They kept them under a heat lamp in a baby pool in the garage until they were old enough to venture out on their own.

Mike and Jenny’s kids, Aiden, 9, and Ava, 5, loved watching the chickens mature and visited their grandparents so much that they decided to get a couple of their own last spring.

Two hens eventually became one after an armadillo decided chicken sounded like a pretty good snack.

That left Big Red.

“Since she became the sole survivor, she has become more dog-like than chicken-like,” Jenny said. “She likes to sit on the couch in the garage with the dogs.”

Big Red has become pretty small-town famous as far as hens are concerned. Often, you can find her going about her dog-like life on social medias. Members of the family feel as if they know Big Red personally.

“She enjoys watching Ellen on TV with Mike and his friends in the garage when he gets home from work,” Jenny said.

Many of the Hursts’ visitors let Big Red sit on their laps and pet her.

“She enjoys perching on people’s legs when they are crossed,” Jenny said.

At night, Big Red can be found sleeping in her coop behind their garage, dreaming of ear scratches and playing fetch.

Like most dogs, Big Red also has an affinity for people food, finding her chicken-scratch boring.

“Both of the dogs and Big Red gather around Mike anytime he has food, but usually her favorite is crackers,” Jenny said. “Just the other day, she hopped up on Ava’s lap and stole a piece of cheese from her plate. Bugs off people’s cars is usually dessert.”

Last modified Feb. 15, 2018