Yesterday my husband was in the feed store to pick something up, and saw that the brooding pen for the latest shipment of chicks was empty. “No more chicks this year?” he asked.
The clerk jerked a thumb around the corner. “No, there’s a couple left. They’re in the Ugly box.”
The Ugly box. Where the unchosen go. The ones that no one picks to take home.
The Ugly box is where chicks go when they grow out of the adorable fuzzball stage, and turn into adolescents with legs that are too long, spiky feathers that are too uncomfortable, and beaks that are too big for their faces. I don’t know about you, but if there had been an Ugly box for kids when I was fourteen, I’d have been in it. Legs that were too long, a faceful of zits, glasses that were too big for my face. Yep. I was a prime candidate for the Ugly box, and in junior high, there was no shortage of people to tell me so.
Fortunately, there’s a cure for the Ugly box, and that’s time. At four weeks, a chick will begin looking more svelte and put-together. It will still have its “peeper voice,” but its feathers will have grown out and it will be more confident in its body (that’s Dinah and JoJo at four weeks. Weren’t they lovely?)
But in the meantime, in a feed store in town, there are two lonely chicks in the Ugly box. And my husband just left with the chicken carrier in the back of the truck.
I wonder what that means?