Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Chicken About Chickens

I have little to no experience with chickens and this week I've received a crash course in poultry care. I have to confess, I've come to like them, they are pretty entertaining, though the biggest realization I've come to is that they're not really pets, at least not in my eyes. Normally when you take care of a cat or dog, the first thing you do when you see them is greet them, but how do you greet a chicken? Do you pet it, or scratch it behind their ear? Do they even have ears?

Whatever be the case, I was daunted at first, but have become more comfortable around them, and as I mentioned, they are pretty endearing. Many of our friends have chickens and they're cute when they're chicks but then, like all animals, go through an ugly phase before coming these beautiful birds. Once they get bigger, however, they are suddenly these full grown animals with minds of their own, and that's where I am a bit daunted because you're trying to get them to do what you want and it doesn't always work out in your favor.

This happened the first evening that we were supposed to put them into their coop, though truth be told, we did things the wrong way, sort of. Both sets of friends told us that as soon as the sun sets, the chickens go inside on their own. What I didn't realize is that it literally has to be dark for this to happen. We went over there around twilight, figuring it was dark enough, and when we arrived, all them were lingering around in the yard and were not about to do what we asked them to. They are easy enough to pick up, but every time I got one into the coop, it would immediately escape, not unlike herding cats. Eventually we worked out a system where I would pick one up, place her in the coop and N would close the door behind her. They weren't so into it, maybe because they didn't know me, and at one point as I was picking one up, another came over and pecked my hand. It was like being attacked by a lion on the African Savannah.

Eventually we got all of them in and learned the next night to do it the right way: we waited until it was pretty dark and sure enough, all of the chickens put themselves inside. It sure made it easier, though it's a little more challenging doing it in the dark. Then again, it beats wrestling a flock of man-eating chickens.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Michael Ahler for the pic.

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