July 3, 2012

Our Neighbors: Wildcat chicken lays big egg for owner

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Marie Ward, who lives with her husband Larry on Slate Lick Church Road, found a huge egg in her hen house last Wednesday.

“I have 12 chickens so I don’t know which one laid the big egg,” she said. “I’m going to turn it into the World Records Academy. I’ll have to get it weighed and measured correctly to see how big it is. It probably has a double yolk.”

“I think you can do this (World Records) on the Internet,” she said.

Ward got her chickens from Donnie Owens.

“This egg comes from a chicken that is about a year and a half old. Donnie Owens had bought the chickens from Tractor Supply. He gave me the chickens and a rooster when that new ordinance went into effect in town that you could only have certain animals. I don’t know the kinds of chickens, but he got two of each kind they had. His niece gave him the rooster. I named him Preacher Jack. We got the chickens back in the winter. There was snow on the ground.”

Marie does not sell the hen eggs, but shares them with friends. The chickens all have names such as Bella, Blacky, Freckles, and Senorita.

“I can’t think of all their names right now,” she said.

Marie’s husband built the chicken house when the Kentucky Wildcats were playing in the NCAA Basketball Championship.

“We have a paw print and a basketball on the door of the hen house,” she said. “These are Kentucky Wildcat chickens. We just moved back from Florida, so we’re Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”

The Wards moved back to their homeplace about a year ago.

“My husband’s a veteran. He was in Vietnam for three tours. He did 10 years in the U.S. Army and 10 in the U.S. Navy. He made a career out of the service. We were stationed in Keflavik, Iceland, the last tour. We moved back and forth from here to Florida. We’re retired now, so we moved back home.”

Marie used to work at Marymount Hospital as an admitting clerk years ago; and was also a military day care worker.

The Wards also recently acquired some bee hives.

“We got the bees for the honey, to pollinate the garden and we’re got some fruit trees. We’ve never had bee hives before, but we thought we’d try it.

“My husband got them from someone who’s been raising them.”

The Wards also have five big dogs (lab, chow, German shepherd mixes) — Bear, Bella, Fancy Girl, Hawk Eye, and Red Rose.

“They’re good dogs. We keep them for protection.”

The Wards have got a new hobby, 4-wheeling.

“We go 4-wheeling whenever we get a chance. It’s a new thing. I never thought I would. It’s fun.”

The Wards have a daughter, Melissa Stumpf, and a son, Donny, and twin granddaughters.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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