GERMANTOWN, Maryland — Tucked away in coop in Germantown, Maryland, lives a group of nine pet chickens. On the surface they may seem like ordinary farm animals that flap their feathers, nibble their food and enjoy nature, but beneath the facade lies a group of true artists.
Shannon Myers and Seihee Arii started off with two birds, and their love grew to nine over time. “You can’t just have two. You’re going to fall in love with them and you’re going to want more,” said Myers.
Their love for music sparked the idea to teach their group how to play. They used clicker training to teach each one to react to certain movements and reflect a certain type of behavior.
Arii explains, “One day we thought maybe they could play the xylophone. It’s like, if you imagined a baby or a child, how would you introduce music to a baby or a child. Maybe you would get a small instrument … so we had them all playing together, the piano the glockenspiel and the drum set. And then someone suggested maybe they could play a real song and that’s where we are now.”
The Flockstars — as they became named — can play instruments such as the xylophone, the piano and the drums. But within the group, there is one chicken that outdoes the others.
Jokgu, the 20-month-old, has a beautiful auburn tint as a Buff Brahma Bantam chicken — and according to her mothers, extremely soft feathers — but she can also play full length songs on the piano, such as “America The Beautiful.”
With her rhythm and rhyme, she uses her beak to peck at each key throughout the tune. She has the help of the keyboard, which lights up each key, but according to Myers, she has become attuned to much more than just the lights.
Myers explained that Jokgu’s body flows with the music based on which key is coming next. If a light is still lit after the song finishes, she will not hit the keyboard just because of a lighted key.
“She wants to play. Sometimes I’ll be holding her and she’ll jump out of my arms to get to the keyboard.”
Neighbors are amazed with what this chicken can do and are eagerly waiting to see Jokgu make her Hollywood debut, and Tuesday she was scheduled to be on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
Make sure to see where her tail feather ends up next and her moms will be with her every step of the way.
“I am one proud mama,” Myers said.