Posted by: Staff | 11.30.2009

Chillin’ with My Peeps

KIT BEAUDOUIN

It began with a simple desire for fresh eggs. Combined with my love of animals, getting chickens  seemed natural. After many hours, and more dollars than I had anticipated on the petchicken.com website, I was equipped with a nice coop and a few odd looking devices for feeding. Two weeks later came the frantic call from the post office, “A box is here for you, and it is cheeping.” My five one day old ladies had entered my life.

The first few months were filled with my obsessively checking the chicks to make sure they were warm enough, (they need to be at 90 degrees for the first month) had not trashed their water or had too much water  in which they might drown , or had too little that they might die from dehydration. Did I think that once again getting up in the night was something I wanted to do, some flashback to the hours huddling over the crib watching my infants sleeping, and thankfully breathing?

And they grew. Enter the world of chicken drama. Lots of drama. Now at a year old, Tina obsessively sits on the eggs; her eggs and any other egg in the coop. Try to sneak the eggs out from under her? This involves horrible noises  and  hand (mine) pecking. She can go days without eating or drinking if she has eggs to protect. Hilary, aptly named, is a strong willed Buff Orpington with a penchant for stealing people foo , who completely rules the roost. Need the flock to do something? Get Hilary on board and the rest will comply.

Did I mention I also have 5 dogs? Surprisingly, there is animal harmony that I did not expect. They mill about the yard together, and if something causes the chickens to sound the squawking alarm, all the dogs dash madly about looking for the culprit, usually a hawk flying high above. My Australian Shepherd’s  herding skills are finally being called upon, and he is brilliant.

Who knew that this past winter would be the coldest, iciest, snowiest winter in recent history? By the time it crossed my mind that the coop was a little far from the house for daily winter tending, the whole complex was encased in thick, immoveable ice. Hmmm, carrying a water bucket in 10 degree  weather was not on my list of 1000 things to do before I die.

This past summer, thanks to the economy, I had all three grown children home.  We had lots of wonderful patio family dinners, with my gorgeous ladies strutting around the yard. The nest can never be too full.

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Responses

  1. this article rocks!

  2. Sweet chix Ms. B


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