With his bright orange T-shirt and wide-brimmed hat, you can see Milt Strong coming from a long way off as he makes his way down the Katy Trail.
The 69-year-old Strong is up long before the rooster crows each day. He would know because he has been raising chickens his entire life. That explains, in part, why he has chosen such a peculiar workout partner.
“About three years ago I noticed people walking their dogs, small dogs in strollers. I started seeing a whole lot of goldendoodles, those expensive dogs. And I thought, ‘I’ve got a cock-a-doodle,’” Strong said with a laugh. “So I started pushing my little chicken.”
Strong chose a chicken — a hen he named ‘Lady Gaga’ — and headed out the next day, pushing a stroller equipped with a small basket. And he’s been turning heads ever since.
“Some people kind of look and look away, like they didn’t see it and they don’t want me to know they saw something,” he said. “I get all kinds of reactions, but generally everybody smiles and that’s what I like.”
It is those reactions that have turned what started as a joke into a dedicated, daily exercise routine. Strong acknowledged he would not be as dedicated to his morning walks without his hens.
And that dedication to exercise, or commitment to a joke depending upon how you view it, might have played a role in saving Strong’s life.
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About two months ago Milt Strong underwent open heart surgery – a quadruple bypass – and he is proud to say that less than two weeks ago he had already resumed his routine, albeit at a slower pace.