Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Great Chicken Round Up

It all begins innocently enough. Your tiny, peeping balls of fluff arrive in a box at your post office one day, you raise them up and a couple years later you call your friend (the Desperate Horsewife) to tell her you've got a few too many layers, and would she like some?

And your friend (the Desperate Horsewife) comes with an old dog crate lined with soft hay to transport her new hens home, dreaming of those golden, farm fresh eggs.

The new hens are placed into their awaiting coop; otherwise known as the old sheep shed with the dog kennel door firmly attached. They spend their first week there, eating, sleeping and drinking, getting to know that this is now home, before the door is opened into their new world. Once out, the feathered ladies go straight to work, scratching and pecking about in the dirt in search of tasty insects. Finding none, they make their way to the patio behind the house, which aggravates the City Boy living inside said house.

"Get those birds off my patio! They're pooping all over the place," he grumbles.

So the Desperate Horsewife, along with her Darling daughter, slip into their boots (never mind that they're in shorts and would look a bit strange to anyone not familiar with Farm Diva fashion) and head outside in an effort to shoo the hens back towards their home.

Hens don't shoo well. They do cackle loudly and run blindly, however. Are you familiar with the term, 'running around like a chicken with it's head cut off?' Trust me, it's not a compliment! These girls darted when they should have dashed, scooting instead of scatting, and nearly caused an accident at one point as a passerby was so slack jawed by the sight of the Farm Divas chasing chickens that he nearly went off the road.

The dust was flying when Steven T. Cat (the T stands for the) meandered out to see what the fuss was all about. Certain he was capable of doing a better job than the humans involved, Steve slipped out of his 'assistant mustang trainer' hat and into his 'Head Chicken Wrangler' role and began to chase the hens around the barn yard. In Steve's mind, he was a lion after the kill.

Now Darling and the Desperate Horsewife forgot about rustling up chickens and instead began chasing after cats, for by now Steve's brother, Bob, had joined the fun. Kicking up feathers as well as dust, the two cats, two farm divas and five hens must have been quite a sight. The cats eventually captured, Darling packed one under each arm back to the house as the Desperate Horsewife finally coaxed her hens with some feed back into their home.

Covered in sweat, dirt, and a feather sticking out of her curly hair, one has to wonder if farm fresh eggs will be worth all this trouble.


CTG Ponies said...

Oh my, sounds like quite an adventure! When I worked on a farm, I took care of every animal there...with the exception of the chickens. I hated the chicken coop! Damn roosters used to come at me every time and try to attack the bucket that I used to gather eggs.

Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor said...

Sounds like a wild time! I want chickens but only 3:)

mustanggirls said...

It will get better-trust me. I have somewhere like 60 chickens (all different ages) and they get better after a while-but you kind of have to get used to sweeping off the porch steps every other day as well unless you keep them penned up all the time.

JackieB said...

Mustanggirls is right - it will get better. The hens will learn to be shooed, and you hen-herders will get better at herding. Treats definitely help!

I had chickens as a kid. Miss them a lot. (But not nearly as much as the horses!) Our flock got free-range time frequently and they were usually cooperative about going to bed.

Home grown eggs are worth it! They are so much better than those pale, insipid store bought eggs. When I got my first apartment in college I bought a dozen eggs. Nearly threw them out because I thought there was something wrong with them. The yolks were so pale and flat! Not at all what I expected.

Our cat was great with the hens. He hung out peacefully with them while mousing the hen house. Unfortunately, our 2nd rooster was mean and attacked everyone. Note that not all roosters are mean - my first rooster was a perfect gentleman to everyone except other roosters.

Good luck with your girls.

Strawberry Lane said...

Love the description of your chicken caper. And, who knows, your outfits just might catch on!

Honest, chickens are worth having around the place. We are down to only one chicken that now thinks our patio is home and she comes when called almost like a dog. She is very faithful about earning her keep with the egg laying business. The cats consider the chicken just one more critter around here.

Jeanette said...

we had a small flock of girls who were very friendly, and if you were eating something they would come to roost on your arm...head...elbow...shoulder...anything that was easily in reaching distance from the whatever you were eating. There is something seriously intimidating about a grown Aracauna flying at your head if you aren't prepared! But the green eggs were delightful!
The image of you and Darling trying to shoo "the girls" only to have to rescue them first is hilarious!!!

Rebekah said...

Hehehe! You sure got me giggling. Too funny! :D

Callie said...

Bahahahaha! I would have loved to see video of that!

Welcome To Wilmoth Farms said...

So good to catch up on your blog! Congrats to Steve Holt!
I have to tell you that this sure was a wonderful chicken story! LOL I was laughing out loud with this one! I'm sure City boy wouldnt understand chickens on the porch..heck my farm boy doesnt even understand or like it! LOL As far as farm diva wear....we have it here in Kentucky too...LOL I too get many looks, especially running around the yard in such garb wear with little calves on my heels playing like a dog!

Connie Peterson said...

We keep our hens (mostly) in the pasture with the sheep. Since there are only two sheep and we have a small place (6 acres), we use snow fence. That keeps MOST of the hens in and they are still "free range" .. but some escape and head for the garden AND the driveway.

Chasing hens ARE a problem but ours now head to the door when I go to lock everyone up and hop inside. Well trained girls I have!