Garrison Wells

Rio Rancho, it seems, is doing just what the cows ordered.

“Eat mor chikin.”

At least, that’s the mantra that Chick-fil-A wants you to repeat. Over and over and over.

So does KFC, Popeye’s, Slim Chickens, Church’s Chicken and Raising Cane’s restaurants. There’s hardly a fast food joint in Rio Rancho that doesn’t sell chicken in one form or another. Fried, baked, as nuggets, tenders, chunks. Popcorn, really? Like you can put it in the microwave in a bag and up pop little puffy chicken chunks?

Grocery stores are chicken-loaded, too. Smith’s on NM 528. Albertsons. Walmarts on Unser and 528. And convenience stores.

Chunks of chicken, pieces of chicken, little round chicken orbs, chicken between slices of bread, chicken on a bed of greens, chicken smeared with soy sauce.

Nuggets – like maybe they are gold or play for Denver.

Poor chickens. Score a big one for cow longevity.

My wife’s family has a ranch in southern Colorado near Aguilar. They run cattle on it. I’m thinking they ought to run chickens.

Herd them up. Put them in a tiny corral. Brand them so other chicken ranchers don’t steal your chickens.

It would be less expensive, since you wouldn’t need horses to herd then. You just walk around, waving your hands and saying: “shoo, shoo!” Heck, your kids can do that.

Besides, horses might trip over them, or stomp them.

The thing is, you might have to watch out for armed chicken rustlers. And coyotes. Chickens are like meals on legs. They are a carnivore delicacy.

And you can find other uses for their feathers. Stuff pillows with them. Make very uncomfortable pillows that stick you. Put ink on them and use them as writing tools.

And their feet. Back-scratchers, I say.

It’s damn near cultish, this chicken thing. I blame the cows.

The second Tuesday in July is Cow Appreciation Day, and if you go to the local Chick-fil-A dressed up like a cow, you get a free entrée. I don’t know about you, but I have three cow outfits in my closet just waiting to be pulled out and worn to a Chick-Fil-A.

The bizarre thing is that you probably know someone who actually does have that outfit tucked away somewhere and just loves those Chick-fil-A sandwiches so much that sashaying to Chick-fil-A for a free sandwich, well, for them it’s a mooo-ving experience.

But Rio Rancho, no matter the efforts of the fast-food industry, will remain a minor leaguer in the chicken city competition.

For Chick-fil-A restaurants, Atlanta is No. 1 with 41. The town of Gordonsville, Va., is the “Fried Chicken Capital of the World,” which started in the 1800s. In May, the town celebrates this fame with an annual fried chicken festival.

Santa Fe’s Loyal Hound is No. 1 when it comes to the ultimate fried chicken restaurants in the state of New Mexico, according to, a food website.

Which raises the question: Who makes the best fried chicken in Rio Rancho? Hopefully it is a local restaurant.

Like down in Georgia and South Carolina, when I lived there, the best fried chicken came from these small, hole-in-the-wall kind of restaurants where you got a meat and three side. Truckers passing through the state tended to swing through Columbus, where I lived, just to get some of that chicken.

The City of Vision is small potatoes when it comes to chicken, despite the late rush of fast-food chicken restaurants.

Call us “Chicken Little.”

Here are a few cow facts from Chick-fil-A.

48 – the age of the oldest cow ever, a Dremon cow named ‘Big Bertha.’
39 – the number of calves birthed by ‘Big Bertha.’
225 – the weight in pounds of the heaviest live newborn calf in 1961.
125 – the amount in pounds of saliva that dairy cows produce in a day.
200 – the weight in pounds of flatus that dairy cows produce in a day.
5,000 – the number of years ago when cows were first domesticated.
25 – the age up to which cows can typically live if they are not slaughtered.
14 – the number of times in a day a cow stands up and sits down.
1:30 – the ratio of bulls to cows in an average herd.
5 miles – the furthest distance that cows can detect an odor.


Hug a cow
If you’re lucky enough to own cows, or live near a cattle farm, visit your local cattle friends. Don’t actually hug a cow without prior permission from the owner. If you aren’t near a cattle farm, check to see if you might live near a farm animal sanctuary.|
Thank a dairy farmer
Dress up as a cow and visit Chick-fil-A
Most Chick-fil-A’s will offer a free meal if you dress up as a cow and visit their restaurant. And you can go through the drive-thru. The one in Rio Rancho offers this special. Don’t miss out.