A Fox In The Henhouse. Eartha Kitt and her chickens

The California home my mother Eartha Kitt purchased in 1957, had been the converted horse stable of an old estate. The names of the horses even remained above their stall doors. She used that in her argument with the city to allow her to keep chickens in the aviary that still stood as part of the farm. She loved growing her own vegetables and eating eggs from her own chickens.

This being one with nature thing didn’t come as easily for me. I, wasn’t born of the earth like my mother. I grew up in Beverly Hills, so farm life in suburbia wasn’t as natural for me. And, no creature sensed that more than those damn chickens!

My mother would usually be the one to go out and collect the eggs from our feathered friends. The chickens, roosters and a few stray doves (not quite sure how they ended up in the flock) lived in a multi-level aviary as big as some houses. She respected the fact that she was entering their sanctuary, and she would move peacefully and purposefully, so the animals understood that she meant them no harm. She would carefully approach every nest and delicately remove each warm egg, so as not to upset the chicken that may have still been occupying that spot.

The chickens would strut and cluck with pride as my mother made her way past the nests, softly communicating their content, like a cat’s purr. She was able to mesmerize that audience of poultry with the same hypnotic control she held over the audiences that paid handsomely to see her in concert.

In contrast, when I was required to go out and tackle that same chore, the inmates would rise up with such hostility that one might have thought a fox had been let loose in the hen house. There would be feathers flying and hens screeching, as well as a good amount of yelling on my part. I did not like those hens and was terrified of the roosters, and boy they knew it. It was as though they would conspire to gang up on me, charging at my bare legs with their tweezer-like beaks ready to attack, in an attempt to sabotage my most despised mission. And, they were usually successful, as I often ended up backing my way out of there, in need of Band-Aids. Not, my finest hour.

To top it all off, my mother would make me eat those eggs and given my disdain towards their creators, I found their rich eggy flavor, even more distasteful. As a preteen girl, all I wanted were store bought, factory fed, processed eggs, that didn’t need a suit of armor to acquire. Was that really asking too much?


Remember ~ Treasure ~Love…. Kitt


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4 Response Comments

  • The Voice of Parris  March 11, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Hi Kit,

    I really enjoyed this offering of city girl born to a country woman of the Earth. My mother was raised on a farm in Guyana and I am skirmish when it comes to insects but I love getting my hands dirty. As I mature into a woman I treasure the memory of my mother’s ease in nature and desire that for myself. I plan to start with a small urban farming project in her Brooklyn backyard and then property in Guyana. All this to say, I love your mother very much, she gives me strength to reach my highest potential as an artist. I am working on some interpretations of her old hits, I would love to share my work with you as it progresses down the line. All the best to you and your family.

    Gail Parris

  • Eartha Kitt - Simply Eartha  March 11, 2012 at 4:15 PM


    It is amazing how we fight against our mothers as children, only to embrace their beliefs as we mature.

    Have fun with your farming project. Brooklyn is a great place to start.


  • Janet Demien  June 13, 2018 at 4:32 PM

    I love you storys and inspiration. Thank You


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