Winnie Daough's Peck-and-Puke Hen Hats

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Well,Friend, they are more like helmets, and are really painted on, and she likely should have used the namePeck-and-Panic… But I digress.

Winnie Daough, you may remember is a whiz-a-holic for creating organic niche products out of found materials. She patented the twig straightener and the blackberry-thorn necklace stringing machine. Blackberry thorn necklaces were a fad in Portland for 2 weeks in 1986, but Winnie has perfected her machine since then.

Winnie is totally practical when it comes to her life’s essentials - in this case, exotic hens. These are her special passion. My eyes glaze over when she mentions the “radiated doohicky” or the “passion pistol, bambino cross.” I infer that these are different breeds or chicken neuroses or such.

She shoots me a look that clearly suggests that I’m in over my head: “It’s the unique head feather arrangement, you dummy!”

I confess that her birds did have handsome top-knots, but I was amazed to hear that there are bird-head conventions and bingo parties at the local armory each Friday evening.

Friend: “What?!? You mean St. John’s has an armory?!!”

St. John’s Jim: "Damndest thing I ever sawd.  No armory.  I guess twern’t profitable, by cracky!"

Winnie went on to tell me that her biggest problem was hen-pecking order and those beloved top-knots. An unter-chicken gets pecked and goes bald, and that means lost profits.  Winnie was not going to let some uber-chicken screw with anybodies top-knot.

Winnie concocted a batch of hen-hat goo that she put on daily. The first batch was based on super-glue, but having a beak stuck to a hens top-knot reduced its value on auction night.

By the fourth batch, Winnie has hit on yet another amazing use for some household animal by-product. You should thank me that I didn’t ask what it was. She told me anyway. Cat drool.

The long and short of the product is that when a hen pecks another, the pheromones of the cat get released on to the offending hen and she starts spewing at both ends and running away from herself. A feat that only a frightened hen can achieve. Or society.

And then I asked the key question: “Winnie: Are you sure it’s legal to deal in chicken scalps?”

And Winnie replied: “Yup, I’m making out big time, and they’ll make that illegal too, soon enough!”

That’s the way it is in St. John’s on February 9, 2011.  Where it is tourist season every day at rush hour for 45 minutes.  Then they go to sleep.  They are gone by morning.

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