Friday, June 4, 2010

Here a Chick There A Chick!

Well, it's been much longer than I thought it would be to add the latest installment to my last post. We live such a thrilling life, that I just haven't had time to post.

You know my only qualifications for being a wanna be farm girl was that I had read all the Little House books at least nine times! I had never even seen a chicken lay an egg. I didn't even know that a chicken can lay an egg without having a rooster around. So yet again, I assured my sweet husband, that I had read all about chickens and knew exactly what to do......

He went to France for a business trip and I went to Home Depot to get the supplies to build myself a chicken yard! My father, wanting to help me, volunteered to build the Chicken Chalet. All I had to do was get them a yard. How hard could that be?

Armed with T posts (I felt so knowledgeable when I went in to Tractor Supply for T posts. I knew what they were!), chicken wire and zip ties, I was set. Yes I said zip ties. I didn't know how to use anything else. I bought bags and bags of those little things to attach the chicken wire to the t posts. It was October and 90 degrees. I worked like a crazy girl getting the yard all set up for the girls. I even built a door. Well I built a rectangle and made an opening.... I got poultry netting and put it all over the top and held it up with broom sticks that had bleach bottles on the ends. It was a sight to see! My husband was so surprised! Did I say that he is an engineer? You know the the kind that would never rig anything and does everything just so....

Well the day after he came home, I went in the truck to get the girls and their man. Our friends sold us nine chickens and one rooster. I was so excited I could hardly wait! Did you know that chickens aren't keen on being shoved in a dog crate? Did you know that when you let them out of said crate they go crazy? Did you know if you leave the door to the chicken yard open, they all run for their life?! Did you know that when a huge puppy Great Pyranees sees these chickens, he feels it's his job to chase them and bring them to you?

Then of course during this fine moment, I responded just like a loving wife should wondering aloud why her husband would leave the gate open? Wondering why those chickens weren't strutting into their new home. After all, there was this red faced man running at them with a butterfly net!

The first night at the Chicken Chalet, only had about half as many chickens as I had planned on. I finally managed to trick them into the pen. Then came the tornado. Yes we had a tornado that came through our land and literally turned the coop upside down and tore loose all the netting. Those post with the bleach bottles could only withstand so much. Again all the chickens were "free-range". Free-range means, that they live on your front porch, in your flower beds and anywhere you wouldn't want them to be. Anywhere but in the nice coop I had so lovingly made!

This past winter, I declared war on the chickens. I was tired of them, flying into their coop, eating the feed and then moving on to my garden for the remainder of their meal. Who knew chickens could fly. Laura Ingalls didn't mention flying chickens.

My husband and I armed with scissors, a ladder and flashlights, set out to find them one winter evening. Paul climbed the ladder with me holding back branches and shining the flashlight into the trees. We managed to gather up all the chickens and bring them into the chicken yard. Some of those chickens screamed like a girl when we grabbed them out of the trees. I think I would scream too if I was being dragged out of a tree from a dead sleep!

One by one, we proceeded to cut everything off of them that would prevent them from flying. My husband suggested we just cut off their wings! He added that no one eats that part anyway! Needless to say, we just trimmed their feathers real close. The next morning I walked out to the chicken yard to see the most pitiful group of chickens on my front porch! Yep, they could still get out. I really was thinking of cutting off their wings at that point!

The next night we set out to gather up our wayward girls. What could we cut now?....We cut off their tail-feathers! Now they really looked terrible, but guess what? They stayed in the pen! Poor things, they just paced the whole day!

I've noticed that chickens really are like women. They may be happy with what they have until they see another gal with something else. The something else doesn't even have to be better. What lures the discontent gal is that the other gal is "acting" like what she has the best thing since dinner last night! I've seen one girl drop a perfectly good grub to chase after her sister friend who has a blade of dried up grass! Oh Lord, help us to be content! More on girl chicken relationships later!

We are kind of a morbid group here...every time the boys bring me a lizard for examination, I suggest they go throw it in the chicken yard. It is so fun to watch those gals grab and run for their life. Rarely does the original grabber get to hang on to her prize.

Thanks again friends for sticking with me while I share a nugget (not chicken) from our life. We love it here. I pray that you prosper where the Lord has placed you. Have a wonderful week. Next time, I'll share about the vermin that love to haunt me and my vain imaginings while I work in my garden.

Hilltop Blessings!

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