One of my readers informed me that my friends over here don’t know about the new chickens. Oops.
Just in case that last episode I shared wasn’t exciting enough, the plot thickens or grossens (is that a word?). There are moments where I think God is having a chuckle at my expense, and this weekend felt like that.
Saturday I got up and took a trailer load of demo trash to the dump. It was perfectly terrible unloading it because some high school helper I had decided to dump all of my cans of tile shards on top of a trailer load full of drywall, paneling, and garbage bags. Right. There is a reason we never turn our back on the help, even if we explained exactly what we wanted. Sigh. Unloading it was a ROYAL PAIN in the behind and took nearly two hours. While I was at the dump, I got to observe some real characters. Like the old guy with a shiny white truck who came to look after each load of trash was dumped. He clearly thought I had something special but was disappointed in my load. One rickety old pick up that looked like it was on it’s last broken leg with an equally rickety trailer pulled up. The two uncouth looking men start unloading next to me and I look over as half a dozen mice run out from under the trailer toward mine. Eewwwww. It felt like a scene from a horror movie. I did score when a couple pulled up with their remodeling trash. They had four old style solid wood doors and one of the corresponding door frames. Before they threw it, I asked if they minded giving it to me. The lady’s mom went on and on about what nice doors they were and she didn’t understand why her daughter didn’t want them. It worked out nicely for me. So I got those four wood doors and what looks like a brand new sink vanity top and faucet (I’m going to build a new bathroom vanity). Otherwise I got a sore back and got rid of a lot of heavy trash I’ve had in my life for too long.
I was getting six eggs a day for the past month or so. All six chickens, each laying an egg a day, like clockwork, all for a few minutes a day to feed and water them and give them a place to live. This, my friends, is living the chicken dream.
It was our usual after-work routine. I go outside to feed and water the chickens, the dogs go out to pee and then Daisy starts lapping the yard at top speed because well… Daisy. She’s just insane like that. I’m reaching into the coop to grab the waterer and BLAM Daisy bolts into the coop around me. Um.
Naturally the chickens all squawk and fly up and there’s general chaos. And in the middle of it, one happy puppy. She isn’t grabbing for the chickens or trying to eat them at all. She thinks this is just plain fun and she’s standing in there grinning like a fool! Oh Daisy. She does occasionally like to jump at the coop when she’s outside of it to watch the chickens squawk and scold. And she spends a fair amount of time hanging out over there with her poultry friends. That day when she bolted into the coop, I called her out of the coop and she came willingly. No harm done at all.
So in this second Dogs vs. Chickens incident, I think we can safely say that Daisy is good with chickens. If nothing else, this whole chicken experiment is good for that. And the eggs. So. Many. Eggs.
A few weeks ago, I had a munchkin camp out and told everyone to bring clothes they could paint in. Only an insane person will set 8 kids lose with red paint– but that is exactly what I did. I tried to give instructions about how to wipe the excess paint on the edge of the can before glopping it everywhere… but I can’t say it was overly successful. What was successful was involving a lot of kids who wanted to be involved, and the chicken run frame got painted (to match the coop) and the kids were thrilled.
You may remember my last go at chickens in 2012 back in my city backyard with the awful neighbors. Mmm hmm. You may also remember that the only chickens that survived that experiment were the roosters I gave my mom (and I’m pretty sure they were eventually eaten by coyotes). Never one to learn lessons from a gruesome past, this spring I started thinking about chickens again.
Lenny (formerly known as Helen) is the last remaining member from the failed 2012 Operation Chicken at the Nichols Homestead.
As Monica so aptly said (on the day of the first chicken killing in the backyard), “There’s just one chicken clucking about the yard.”
There he is in all of his roostery glory, spying on the humans.
He even managed to escape the winter of slow death at the Bon Terre farm that took out Angus (the other rooster) and most of my mom’s hens over the winter. I blame Rocky the watch dog who has to sleep in the house because he likes to bark all night– leaving the chickens unprotected from raccoons, coyotes, and other predators.
Somehow Lenny stands strong. And he does have one hen to keep him company.
Hopefully he survives the next big event when the chicken killing bitches move to said Bon Terre farm in 3 weeks.
Good luck Lenny, you’re going to need it.
On Monday night, I was out watering the chickens. Refilled their food for the week. Checked on the coop. The usual. Then I left for a few days up north with a bunch of my friends early on Tuesday morning. As I was getting ready on Tuesday morning, I let the dogs out to do their business (as I do every morning), fed them, and headed out. Nothing out of the ordinary except that I was heading out of town for a few days instead of to the office.
My roommate Leslie arrived home at the end of the work day and let the dogs out, same as always. Except it wasn’t. There was squawking almost immediately. And a dead chicken almost as quickly. She ran outside to see Buck (visiting dog) taking a bite out of Marigold, as Maggie and Suzie left Edna’s already dead carcass to come help. Leslie screamed for the dogs who dropped the chicken and went inside as instructed. I got a panicked phone call up north full of apologies and the bad news. Okay. I don’t understand how they had time to rip a corner of the chicken wire (2 layers) open in the 10 minutes they were out in the morning. But clearly it was enough for the chickens to escape and be free ranging in the yard when Leslie got home and let the dogs out. Epic chicken fail. Sigh. I told her to pick up the bodies and put them in the outside trash which would be going out in a day or two anyway. And of course, apologized repeatedly that the tragedy happened on her watch and assured her that it wasn’t her fault. Such is life.
An hour later I listened to one of the funniest voicemails ever. One of the chickens wasn’t all the way dead. And as Leslie went to scoop up the carcass, it fluttered and flew up into her face, causing much panic and dropping of the other dead chicken. And now the neighbors were out in the yard. Awesome. Her brave fiancé arrived on the scene, covered the hole in the coop with plywood, and helped move the mostly dead chicken into the now-secure coop and the all-the-way-dead-chicken to the dumpster. Rest in peace Edna.
I called my mom who agreed to go pick up said mostly-dead-chicken to either provide chicken hospice or nursing care, whichever was required. And mostly to save my very flustered roommate from further dealings with a mostly-dead-chicken in my absence. As the story goes, my mom got Marigold home and into the solitary confinement coop at her house. Gave her food and water. And the next morning went out to find poor Marigold on her back, legs sticking straight into the air, dead. Rest in peace Marigold.
So… the two roosters were the lone survivors of this failed chicken project. They are running around happily at my parents fertilizing hens to their hearts content and grossing out my 16 year old brother.
In case you’re counting:
- Dogs: 4
- Nature: 2 (roosters not hens)
- Reenie: 0
Operation Chicken 2012: Epic Fail