National Chicken Month is upon us

By Ryn Gargulinski: Columnist

A little bird, quite aptly, told me that September is National Chicken Month. For New Mexico this is an extra-special thing since the land is enchanted with a few distinctive chickens of its own.

The foremost to be honored is the glorious High Plains prairie chicken, for which an entire festival has been created in Milnesand.

Other New Mexico chickens that can pretty much be ignored are the ones that hide from the cops behind Tucumcari gas stations or the Clovis chickens that cower in the 11th Street alleyway in the neighborhood where I used to live.

The chicken month designation, however, was not initially invented to pay tribute to these clucky critters.

Nor was it created by Hallmark to sell more cards, like its holiday-type designations of Grandparents Day and Neighbors Who Don’t Steal Your Mail Week.

Although the origins of chicken month remain somewhat cloudy, like the contents of a rotten egg, it is known that it was first cooked up to get people to eat more chicken.

Yes, chicken makes for great enchiladas — and even tastes like frog — but it is much more fun to focus on paying tribute to the live bird rather than find yummy ways to chop it up and douse it with salsa.

Besides, one of those PETA-type groups did a study in which they found chickens have forethought and thus knows what it means when someone comes at them with an ax.

Just like a roach can live 10 days without a head, a chicken also stays alive for at least 44.23 seconds after she’s been decapitated, which accounts for the massive screaming and the headless body running amok.

But enough of the gore.

Let’s focus instead on the benefits on the nondead chickens that still have heads.

Anyone with a hen house can tell you there is no better addition to an average back yard (except, of course, one of those fountains with a spinning ball and koi).
Chicken-owning folks get a ton of freebies — such as down pillow stuffing and Easter eggs. One can also imbibe in endless philosophical discussions with the flock on what came first, them or the egg, and why they decided to cross the road.

The chicken is also a way to forge a special bond with someone, like I have with my mother. Not a holiday goes by — Hallmark or otherwise — that we don’t gift each other with chicken stuff.

She has sent me a chicken necktie, chicken pens, a chicken keychain or two, and squawking chicken plastic things I think I’m supposed to hang on my front door.

I, in turn, have wrapped up and mailed off chicken photo collages, a rubber chicken and even a handmade wooden tic tac toe game where one side is a chicken and the other is the egg.

So let’s celebrate National Chicken Month with the highest honor we can give them — by decidedly eating more beef.