By Peggy Townsend
APTOS (December 2008) - The two children who stood in front of the mechanical dancing chickens at Glaum Egg Ranch on Monday couldn’t have laughed harder if they tried.
They cackled at the chicken angel and the chicken snowman who kicked up their claws as a poultry version of “In the Mood” blasted in the background. They howled at the little chicks in top hats who bobbed up and down in their shells.
It’s a show people who like a little razzle dazzle with their fresh eggs apparently never get tired of seeing. According to Sherrie Glaum, almost 200 dozen eggs are dispensed every weekend as the dancing chickens do their jig.
Sherrie Glaum and the dancing chickens
The idea for this mechanical chicken show belongs to Sherrie’s father, the late Marvin Glaum. He took over the egg business from his father and operated the chicken ranch which nestles on a hillside off Valencia Road. He was the one who thought a bit of dancing would be a nice addition to the machine he had that automatically dispensed flats of the ranch’s fist-sized eggs.
“He was real mechanical minded,” said Dorothy Glaum of her husband. “It took him six months to put all the switches together.”
Now, every holiday and most seasons the chickens turn out in costumes. Hearts for Valentine’s Day, pastels for Easter and even baseball attire for the coming of summer. It takes Sherrie a half day to put each show together.
The bonus is that not only do visitors get 2 minutes and 13 seconds of chicken dance, but also a flat of 24 cage-free eggs. The total is $3.
Dorothy said the ranch decided to raise their chickens cage-free about three years ago, letting the white leghorns and hyline hens free to peck and dust themselves in the barns where they live. The ranch was the second on the West Coast to be certified “humane” by the Humane Farm Animal Care group, Sherrie said.
“The hens actually seem happier,” Sherrie said on a brisk morning at the ranch.
But probably not as happy as the two children who watched the dancing Christmas hens in motion.
Glaum Egg Ranch is at 3100 Valencia Road in Aptos. Visit www.glaumeggranch.com for more information.