Chick Flick

by Maria on July 29, 2008

One of the best things about respite care in my family seat – apart from being surrounded by friends and family, and the parents doing their proper duty and tending to my every need and whim – is the hen house. Or, more precisely, the fresh eggs every day from happy hens who spend their time milling around the garden eating worms and bits of old clothes.

Our four hens get a regular servicing from the cock (or ‘rooster’ for Americans who are a bit shocked by its prosaic name), and they all lay regularly, apart from Ginger (pronounced with two hard g’s) who was acquired purely for her beauty. Recently, after one or two literally abortive attempts, Mum managed to keep two eggs warm enough for a month. They’ve now hatched in their home above the Aga, and have begun to eat. So they’re over the worst. At least until their teenage months when their cuteness and fur are gone but they don’t yet have feathers.

Naming conventions for family animals have gone downhill since all six Farrell siblings left home, because the rentals now get a free run at it. These days we have sturdy dogs called Wolf or Sky. Time was when puppies or kittens were called after particularly nasty Roman emperors or generals (Trajan) or appealing characteristics (an initially unloved cat of indeterminate gender named Psycho). Some names were just a bit odd (a black minah bird called d’Arc, and two sweet lovely bunnies called Stalin and Jemima who were eaten by our cousin’s dog, leaving only a fluffy little ear behind), a pair of cockatoos named Chuck and Charlie (Chuck was beheaded through his cage by a cat. Charlie died instantly of shock.). An imposing terrapin named Ming the Merciless.

There was Terry the Pig – a publicity stunt birthday gift from Mum to a politician uncle who’d just had a gossip column written about him by the then-Taoiseach’s mistress, Terry Keane. Some names were just obscure: a foal called Masri and a Siamese cat called Kula. One very loved cat who went by Elvis/Felix by two opposing camps for his entire 15 years. A recent favourite was an ancient female who’d delivered many kittens and came to live with us in her retirement. She was nicknamed Prolapsia.

Anyway, what should we call our new chicks? I’m not allowed to name anything because for years I’ve harbored a desire for a King Charles spaniel who will love me dearly and eat off my plate and sleep in my bed and be named Sweetie. He/she is so real to me that I hardly need to acquire him/her, but my sisters say it’s just not right or natural.

These chicks need names and, left to her own devices, Mum will probably call them Bill and Hillary. The chicks already face a scrawny and awkward adolescence, in about 3 weeks’ time. So let’s not burden them with dreadful names.



Spoon 07.29.08 at 10:07 pm

I feel you on the imaginary-dog front: all summer long I’ve been harboring the desire to get a terrier and name it Wikipedia.

As for bird names: my sister and I generally go the en-vogue-fictional-character route, so how about Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent? Comes built-in with alter egos in case they decide to go the superhero route. (Clark Kent may be more appropriate than Harvey, depending on the chickens’ temperaments.)


notsneaky 07.29.08 at 10:11 pm

“particularly nasty Roman emperors or generals (Trajan) or appealing characteristics (an initially unloved cat of indeterminate gender named Psycho)”

Hmmm, well Trajan was one of the “Five Good Emperors”, not a nasty one (though the Dacians might disagree). I’d go with Sulla or Marius (in fact I knew a kid who had a dog named after the latter). Also my former roommates eons ago (like 15 yrs) had two cats named “Scalpel” and “Thanatos” but they didn’t chose those names. They inherited them from a bunch of acid wacked out hippies.


Maria 07.29.08 at 10:24 pm

True, true. Trajan was a good guy as long as you were a Roman.


Righteous Bubba 07.29.08 at 10:29 pm

Name one coquette.


BillCinSD 07.29.08 at 10:37 pm





Roy Belmont 07.29.08 at 10:37 pm

I’m still riveted by the fate of Charlie.


Maria 07.29.08 at 10:58 pm

As soon as I figure out how, I’m going to post a cute picture of the nameless darlings in their Aga-top dwelling.


Maria 07.29.08 at 11:01 pm

Roy, it was rather sad and very hilarious. The bird cage was suspended high in the middle of a room, with no nearby furniture and the complete physical impossibility of the cats getting near it. We woke up one morning to find one headless little bird corpse at the bottom of the cage, and his equally dead but completely untouched companion beside him.


Francis 07.29.08 at 11:04 pm

Name them for the two biggest chickens in DC: George and Dick.


Jason B 07.29.08 at 11:13 pm

I’d suggest Gary and Wyatt.


Delicious Pundit 07.29.08 at 11:38 pm

Name one “Funny Ha Ha” and one “Funny Strange”


Dr Paisley 07.30.08 at 12:02 am

We acquired a pair of mostly white kittens last year, and I was stunned when the ladies of the house agreed with my suggestion to name them Siegfried and Yum! (the bang is part of the name).

Harlan and Frank, if they are males. Or perhaps Foghorn and Leghorn.


P O'Neill 07.30.08 at 12:33 am

You’ve had more refined naming choices than in our homestead, where the names tended to draw on contemporaneous TV references (leaving e.g. various Dallas-themed animals around) or just completely matter-of-fact names such as Tom for a cat since whene first appeared aroun the house, that was all that was known about him. Options in this case would include reserving the names for Irish Olympic medallists in the hope of at least two, or capturing some of the contemporary European scene with Nicolas and Carla. Also, that foal would be on a terror watch-list now.


foolishmortal 07.30.08 at 1:14 am

Fat Boy and Little Man. Obviously.


chiggins 07.30.08 at 1:41 am

Fezzik and Inigo.


F 07.30.08 at 2:44 am

Does gender matter? If not..

Palindrome and Pun, Mojito and Margarita, Harvey Wallbanger and John Collins, Orlando and Ronaldo, Aslan and Simba, Patatas and Bravas, ChiChi LaRue and The Lady Chablis, Baby Jane and Blanche, Antigua and Barbuda.


Alan 07.30.08 at 4:37 am

Abercrombie and fitch?
For a neutered tomcat: Abelard. For his female friend: Heloise


Justin 07.30.08 at 4:46 am

I don’t know whether I speak for other Americans here or not, but while that name for a rooster is ok, it’s surely a bit much to refer to the hens being [services] by the cock.

Can that really be uttered in all seriousness?


Chris Bertram 07.30.08 at 6:38 am

Surely Jane Austen characters is the way to go: Mr Bennet, Lady Catherine De Bourgh etc.


bad Jim 07.30.08 at 8:14 am

My family’s names for dogs: Genetics, Bark, Brunhilda, Guru, Rojo, Yeti, Osa (cat Perro, rats Henrietta, Hunky & Horco). My sister’s dogs: Sine, Tangent, Judy, Ivan, Gaea, Luna (current cats Mango & Pixel, kittens Flopsy & Mopsy; #3 didn’t make it). One brother’s dogs: Jemima, Nigel, Bella, Martini (tortoise Huey; original cat Noir; not sure if the albino python or the iguana had names). Other brother’s dogs: Betty, Max, Maggie, Molly, Rusty (pig Arnold). Nephew’s girlfriend’s dogs: Avi & Sophie.

I’d suggest Up & Down or Top & Bottom or Spin & Momentum. Or, since they’re chickens, Overeasy & Sunnyside, Sandwich & Salad, Hotchick & Hippiechick, Hatcheck & Cheekpeck.


Dave 07.30.08 at 8:35 am

@18: it’s a cock, it f*cks hens, deal with it. There are those who suspect that the term “rooster” was specifically invented by people who couldn’t…

Further up, “Funny peculiar” is the usual accompaniment to “Funny ha-ha”, and is far more euphonic.

@21, you missed Strange and Charm, or are those passé in subatomic circles these days?


Ciarán 07.30.08 at 8:46 am

No way: Dickens is the way to go. I suggest Jarndyce and, er, Jarndyce.


Tony 07.30.08 at 9:02 am

Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell.


bad Jim 07.30.08 at 9:19 am

Strange & Charm, Truth & Beauty? I’m old, I can’t keep track. Sorry.
Gluon & Boson, Lepton & Baryon, Hautboy & Baryton?

My canine sister Brunhilda, a brilliant, ruthless, undisciplined German Shepherd, was, as a puppy, called Lollipop. When she’d get out I had to prise her jaws off the neck of the dog across the street whose name escapes me. What are the dogs saying to each other when they’re barking? Probably something worse than Rush Limbaugh.


astrongmaybe 07.30.08 at 3:19 pm

“Yes” and “No”, in honor of the Lisbon Treaty.


rea 07.30.08 at 5:34 pm

I’ve been harboring the desire to get a terrier and name it Wikipedia.

I friend of mine has a terrier named Osama. Some have claimed that he is objectiely pro-terrierist . . .


mollymooly 07.30.08 at 7:14 pm

No way: Dickens is the way to go. I suggest Jarndyce and, er, Jarndyce.
If you’re going that route, get a few more chicks and call them Hope, Joy, Youth, Peace, Rest, Life, Dust, Ashes, Waste, Want, Ruin, Despair, Madness, Death, Cunning, Folly, Words, Wigs, Rags, Sheepskin, Plunder, Precedent, Jargon, Gammon, and Spinach.


Aunt FLo 07.30.08 at 8:47 pm

As they live on an Aga you could call them after two other “hawt” chicks… Paris and Nicole.


Helen 07.31.08 at 2:35 am

Thelma and Louise


Shawn Crowley 07.31.08 at 8:30 am

I’ve kept various species of snakes for many years but rarely bothered to name them, snakes being deaf and not particularly responsive to human wishes in any case. I did finally name my one remaining snake, a Pacific Northwest rattler, thinking that having had him now for 21 years that a name was in order: Fang Shui.


Laura 07.31.08 at 10:00 am

My chooks are called Terri and Bindi. This only works for birds wearing identical safari suits, preferably khaki.


professordarkheart 07.31.08 at 1:34 pm

They’re chicks!

Paris and Britney.


vrt 07.31.08 at 11:35 pm

Dupont & Dupond


you guess 08.02.08 at 12:42 pm

“Paul” and “Denise”.

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