For the last several years, I’ve talked about getting chickens. My grandma and grandpa lived on a farm and had a number of chickens. I remember back then I liked hunting eggs with my grandma but we had to be careful because when you’d reach under the chicken, they would often peck you. That and we were told to be careful of snakes being under there too. I haven’t pulled the trigger on getting any because I really didn’t know how to take care of them. Well, now I’m getting my education.
When my son and his wife moved back to Missouri from the Washington D.C. area, one of the things his wife wanted was chickens. So shortly after they moved into their rural home, they bought six chickens. One, unfortunately, didn’t make it but the others are all hale and hearty. And, my son can’t have an animal without making it a pet, so all the chickens are domesticated and have names and let you pet them. Pretty cool.
We’ve always cat and dog sat for them when they were either here to visit or on vacation so when they told us they were going to Germany for three weeks, it was no big deal for us to have their dog and two cats at our house. But, the kicker came when we realized that we had to take care of their chickens too. It wouldn’t be so bad except they live 25 miles away.
So for the past week, and for the next two weeks, every other day I make the drive out to their house and take care of their chickens. I make sure they have food and water and scoop up their poo and gather the eggs. The other day, I gathered a basket of eggs and left them on top of the coop and when I returned from what I was doing, two of the eggs were out of the basket. One of the chickens, I think it was Peckerhead was standing by the basket. I put the eggs back in the basket, and to my amazement, she took them back out using her beak.
They’ve got video surveillance all around their house and inside their chicken coop, which they have named “Peckerhead Palace” after one of their chickens. It’s a pretty neat setup below their deck and includes a coop and perches and toys. Those chickens don’t want for anything, well, maybe their freedom. Before last week, they were basically free-range chickens and were only penned at night for their safety. One of them (I can never remember which chicken is which) was having a fit for about two days because she was used to laying her eggs out in the yard. You could hear her squawking on the surveillance camera. She did not like being cooped up. (So that’s where that phrase came from!)
Each chicken lays about one egg a day, so I’ve had plenty of eggs to give out to friends. So far, there’s only been one casualty, and of course, it was me. Caught my finger in the coop slide.
I think I’ve decided that Springtime next year I’m getting my own.