Once my husband and I found our little bit of paradise in the foothills, I started talking to him about chickens. I figured now that we owned a few acres, not only would we need to have a bigger garden, but we’d be wanting chickens. That’s what you do when you move to the country, right? You grow a big garden, and get chickens. (Followed by goats, and maybe a milk cow and bees, and… you get the drift)
There was one small problem. My husband hates chickens! He grew up with horses, pigs, cattle, and at one point, four hundred chickens! He hates eating chicken, smelling chicken being cooked, plucking chickens, and talking about raising chickens. This was going to be a bit of a challenge. Of course, I pushed the benefits of owning chickens. We will have fresh eggs, lot’s of spent bedding to use in the compost pile, and we can eat the chickens if there’s ever a big emergency (In retrospect, that wasn’t a very good idea for me to state, given how little he enjoys eating chicken)!
Well, after a year of me pestering him non stop, he relented, and we got some chicks. They were so adorable! They were all fluffy, and quietly chirpy, and pretty easy to take care of, for about a minute. Dang those critters grow fast! I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but we didn’t have a very good place to keep them while they were little and needed to be kept warm, so we set up a “brooder” in our bathroom. If anyone out there is contemplating doing this, don’t. It’s a bad, bad idea!
As they got bigger and more mature (and were able to move outdoors in their coop), it became obvious that we had a rooster in the flock. Roosters are pretty cool, but there’s one drawback. They like to make noise! Our guy sounded so cute when he was first finding his voice, until he got it all figured out at about one in the morning! Yeah, it’s not cute anymore. (Incidentally, we ended up with three more roosters, and I hear them all day long, and often at night!)
In addition to the noise, it turns out that despite the fact that we’ve got over two acres of land, including a couple thickets and lots of stuff for them to forage in, all they wanted was the “forbidden fruit” in my garden! Oh come on, chickens! Really? (You might think that I was smart enough to foresee this becoming a problem, and reinforce my garden perimeter with chicken wire, but you’d be wrong!) Well, I’ll be ready for it this growing season! My garden is going to be reinforced like the Fort Knox of the poultry world!
Again, despite having lots of space for our chickens to wander, they prefer to scratch and claw up the gravel walkway we put down under our covered area, out behind our little house. One place in particular has been reduced to bare dirt, that the chickens use for dust bathing in and just hanging out. Chickens can be rather strange, in my uneducated opinion.
Speaking of strange, two of our younger birds have decided to act like parrots. These two birds love to jump/fly up and land on our shoulders. (or arms, or heads) I wasn’t expecting it one morning, and I looked up just in time to see talons, and flapping wings coming strait at my face! I’m sure that must’ve been quite a sight! There I was, in all my city slicker glory, screaming and flailing my arms as my “parrot hen” was flapping and scratching me, in it’s attempt to land on my head! I’m going to just pretend that it wanted to hang out with me, and wasn’t trying to remove my eyes. Reliving this moment kind of makes me feel like curling up in a ball and quietly weeping.
All in all, I’m still glad we have these adorable instruments of mayhem! Much of what I’m (jokingly) complaining about, are things with an easy solution, such as chicken wire. Honestly, to this ex city mouse, there’s just nothing quite like going to the coop (or doghouse, or the brush, or any other random place the hens choose to lay their eggs!) and getting truly fresh, delicious eggs! (For the record, though, my sweet husband still hates chickens, and I can’t really blame him.)