Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road? To Get To The Ritz-Cluckton, Of Course.

Published in The Ferndale Record, April 24, 2013

Threats to American security at home and abroad, and what can be done about any of it makes me want to write about one thing, and one thing only—chicken hotels.

I care about this subject not because I’ve tended chickens or even know much about them. But my sister’s pet name for me involves a chicken and from an early age I had the ability to cluck like a real chicken, and as a result, provided countless hours of dazzling, high- class entertainment for those in my closest circle. I also impersonate a spot-on trumpet, but that’s another column.

When my daughter kept chickens at her farm in the county, she cleverly named them, giving rather simple animals a fun persona. Her coop was home to Cluck Norris, Hen Solo, Feather Locklear, and Chicky Ricardo among others.

So, when I read an article on nbcnews.com about over-night accommodations for one’s poultry, entitled “No plucking joke,” I was drawn to it like a McNugget to barbecue sauce.

Bill Bezuk of Eugene, Oregon is the proprietor of what he believes is the first chicken hotel in the country.

“The basic service – fresh food, water and a safe place to sleep – costs $2 per chicken per night,” the article states. “For a dollar more Bezuk offers ‘deluxe accommodations’ – organic food, fresh vegetable scraps and turndown service. Yes, really. Turndown service.”

Curious to find out how one might place a mint or chocolate chip cookie on a chicken’s pillow, I read on. It’s not exactly what you think. Although I suppose in the world of poultry, this constitutes a treat.

Around the time chickens generally hit the hay, Bezuk or one of his employees tempt the hens into an enclosed space with mealworms. Now that’s luxury!

Since city councils all over the nation are voting in favor of urban livestock, resulting in more chicken farmers next door, Bezuk’s plans are to capitalize on the trend. He currently keeps two suites (housing six to eight chickens each), and will be adding two more split-level suites.

Apparently, the United Kingdom is ahead of the curve and has already cashed in on the chicken craze, boasting a few boarding sites of its own. The Fowlty Towers is in Cowden, southeast England, and The Chicken Hotel in Cornwall offers spa treatments, including pedicures. Pedicures for chickens—you read that correctly.

Just because these animals possess the intellectual capability of driftwood doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate extravagance. Well, maybe it does. But their people do, and that’s where Bezuk and his fellow chickenistas come in.

“The challenge with The Nest [his facility] is the challenge with any hotel,” he says. “Avoiding overbooking and making sure that the chickens check out on time. Cleaning the room between guests is clearly important.”

Well, there you have it. Just when you thought there were no opulent digs for your chicken while you’re on vacation, along comes the likes of Bill Bezuk with his responsible and practical approach.

And mealworms for an extra dollar per night? Sweet.