Fair warning—this one will be long. So if you don’t want to read the whole thing, here’s the short of it: Vodka was involved, and I put my chickens in a tutu.
And the long of it:
Let’s go back three years . . . We were living in a great house in town, on a ¾ acre lot (that’s HUGE for in-town). At the time, Paul’s hobbies were urban-farming focused: He took beekeeping classes; got a greenhouse (and proceeded to store tools in it); dug a catfish pond (and managed to keep most of them alive); and created a 1k square foot garden (highlights: purple okra, Black from Tula tomatoes, and sweet potatoes). He also insisted we get some chickens, mainly, I think, because he wanted to build a chicken bungalow.
I had no feelings one way or the other about getting chickens—much like I feel about most of Paul’s hobbies, I didn’t think this one would alter my life beyond the extra stuff: the coop (and, as it turns out the poop—lots and lots of poop), the feed, and the . . . the . . .I don’t know. I didn’t know.
What happened in the end is we got four additional pets (well, three now because one died and we replaced her with a TERRIBLE HEN and promptly gave that one to our real estate lawyer). And I’m ridiculous with pets. I love them too much, and I had no idea this would carry over to the chickens (aka “the girls,” or “the chickies”).
Most people who keep actual flocks think I’m nuts for sure. I didn’t mean for this to happen. I certainly didn’t want to become the crazy bird lady, but I did. I fell in love with the little peeps and have spent the past three years spoiling them because they are infinitely stupid, and they make me laugh every single day. Except Butterball—she gives me hell, but I digress. (If you would like to as well, here you go.)
Flash forward to a few weeks ago. I had long been planning on making tutus for the girls. I wanted to do this not because I think chickens should be dressed up (they shouldn’t—they should run around and scratch, and take dust baths, and eat bugs), but because I wanted to warn Paul of the dangers of his hobbies; I wanted a physical manifestation of potential consequences of his seemingly endless actions: “See!! You wanted chickens, I ended up being the chicken tender (ha, because I tend to them, get it?), AND LOOK WHAT IT DID TO ME!! I PUT THEM IN TUTUS!!”
But I wasn’t sure when to do this hobby because in the end, I’m super lazy about hobbies. It just so happened that, because Paul is NOT super lazy about hobbies, he had invited some friends over for craft night. You read that right. Paul invited friends over for crafts.
I knew I would need vodka, and that I had to plan a meal (another digression—my buffalo-style take on Chicken Kiev (I do realize the irony of my cooking chicken the night I made tutus for my own, but I can assure you, these were pasture, free range, humanely slaughtered birds from a local farm run by the nicest people you’ve ever met; and they were delicious—the chickens not the people)).
Mike and MacKenzie came over with their hobbies, so I had to come up with one of my own, lest I look like a simple drunk—so I decided that now was the time to make a chicken tutu. Mike was making an LED mood light of sorts—a panelized thing that would hang elegantly on a wall and judge other lights for not being as cool. And MacKenzie and Paul were mounting paper using this reversible conservation method with linen backing and some other stuff I didn’t ask about (Paul’s latest hobby is vintage label and poster collecting, and he’s now mounting and framing them; I don’t mind this hobby so much as paper, in general, takes up little space, and the final products make fantastic gifts).
But I had to do some research because I had no idea how to make a tutu. I can’t sew, so I knew anything complicated was out, which led me to a Google search for “no sew tutu.” I discovered they’re essentially giant pew bows (Traci and Kecia, are you reading this?!?! I made giant pew bows!!).
What is a pew bow, you ask, and why am I so excited about them?
Well . . . I got married this past May, and my amazing cousin Traci was in charge of the flowers. She took it upon herself to also create beautiful decorations for the sanctuary and reception hall, among which were lovely tulle bows to mark the family church pews.
But here’s the best part: The week before the wedding, at an amazing bachelorette weekend on Tybee Island, Traci asked my sisters and me to help construct the pew bows. And my sister Kecia, without seeing them and only hearing us discuss them, thought were talking about our nether regions—she heard pube-o, not pew bow, and figured we’d come up with a new slang term for “the forest.” 🙂 So there’s a special place in my heart for pew bows, and I was delighted to extend them to a ridiculous hobby.
Now, I realize that most people will NOT make tutus for chickens, but I do know that my lady friends might, in fact, want pew bows or tutus for daughters or daughters’ friends (or maybe even for themselves for a Halloween costume). Because this is a learning experience for us all, I will detail how the pubo-s I mean pew bows I mean chicken tutus were made:
- First, get some tulle. I had a bunch because, as noted before, I just got married. Some online sources say to use certain thicknesses, but I wasn’t about all that, because I didn’t want to go into a craft store. Plus, I figured ivory tulle would make lovely, bride-like tutus for the girls.
- Second, measure your chicken’s “waist.” I couldn’t find my cloth tape measure, so I grabbed a chicken and used some string. I wrapped the string around the chicken’s middle and noted how long the string was.
I then cut a piece of pink ribbon (because I thought that would be pretty with the ivory tulle) to the length of the string (which was cut to the length of the hen’s circumference), and used this as the belt for the tutu.
- Next, I cut the tulle into strips. Again, online has all kinds of guidelines based on width and length, but because I’m lazy, I just guesstimated how long I wanted the tutu and doubled the length. And I made the strips 1-3 inches wide.
So, for instance, because I wanted the tutu to be about 8 inches, my strips were 16 inches long. Really, they were as long as the bolt of fabric was wide, because again, I’m lazy, and didn’t want to measure. I cut a bunch of strips. I don’t know how many exactly. Just a big ass pile.
- After that, I took the strips, folded them in half, and did a sort of loopty loop around the ribbon. I’m sure there’s a technical name for this, but in essence, I pulled the tulle through a loop of itself over the ribbon.
And I did this over and over again until I had a ribbon full of tulle. Actually, I stopped mid-way and considered just making chicken bridal veils, but figured it’d be nearly impossible to keep them on the girls.
- I then trimmed some of the pieces so the floof was of varying lengths, and voila, a tiny tutu!
Here are some pictures of the final product and of the girls modeling it. I included one of my grandmother holding a duck. I Like to think that this is where I get my love of birds, though I’m pretty sure this bird was about to be dinner.
I’ve also included Paul’s final product–Wodka, how appropriate. Also, check out the video of us putting the tutu on the hen.
Some final notes: Chickens, in general, don’t like tutus. Butterball (the white one) freaked the eff out. She ran around like—and I apologize for this—a chicken with her head cut off, and I felt terrible for putting it on her. Spike (the black and white one) sort of jumped around a bit and seemed really annoyed. Tiger (the brown one), on the other hand, seemed to like it. Perhaps because she’s already floofy and understands and enjoys the ohhing and ahhing from her admirers. She also probably liked it because I gave her snacks, and snacks are her favorite.