We have three chickens. We got them from Brian. Stefan’s sister and I went to Brian’s farm this summer and handpicked five gorgeous girls and brought them home. Stefan built a brilliant coop that we move from one garden bed to another every other month. We murdered the rooster a couple months after bringing her home since it is illegal to have roosters in the city limits. We found another chicken mysteriously upside down in her run about two months ago. And then there were three, three gorgeous chickens that started laying eggs about two week ago.
We first became aware of the possibility of chickens in our back yard when one showed up unexpectedly. She was a brown and black feather footed beauty of some decorative breed and we had no idea where she could have come from. None of the three neighbors we shared a back yard fence with had chickens so she had to have crossed at least two fences to get to our yard. We boxed her up and started going door to door asking who had chickens. It turned out there were no less than three flocks within a one block radius of our house and none of their owners were home. After trying her out on one flock to the south and getting a negative ID from a second we pitched her over a fence to the north where we had it on good authority some fancy chickens lived. We had always enjoyed visiting Brian’s flock so we put in a request for some of his next batch of poults.
Saturday night, Stefan and I went to bed about ten o’clock after a couple Daily Show viewings, I fell fast asleep only to find myself bolting out of bed, chasing after Stefan running to the back porch. I went from the peaceful warmth of my bed to the cold harsh reality of night. Bam!
Raccoons had gotten into our chicken coop. Half asleep, I stepped outside into the cold night and saw Stefan standing on our deck, naked, under our flood light yelling and throwing things at the raccoons. I felt my heart well up into my throat. Time stood still. I was frozen. Moments later, I glanced at the clock; it was 11:15pm. I saw the raccoons skitter outside of the coop and into the run. They struggled to get out of the chickens’ wire fence and finally hopped on the roof of the coop and slid down the backside and into the night.
Stefan walked inside and got clothes on just as our neighbor who also has chickens came out of his back door. We talked briefly about what had just happened. I was trying to kill time before I had to look to see if we still had our girls. I looked down at our chicken coop and saw two of our girls walking around. A brief sigh of relief. As Stefan walked outside, we wondered aloud where the third hen was. We both walked slowly into the yard and bent down to discover her fiercely guarding her two perfectly shaped eggs. Another huge sigh.
I turned to Stefan. And, laughed. I know many reasons that I love this man. Reason #439 is that he protects his brood, no matter what. The thought of Stefan, naked, under the flood light waving his arms overhead, yelling at the raccoons will never be erased from my mind. Ever.
There are so many sayings based on chickens. Now, that we are chicken owners we understand where these came from:
- Scare the crap out of – as we were spending time with the chickens the next day, their coop was a mess. There was crap everywhere. Gross, yes. They were scared. Those raccoons scared the crap out of our girls. Literally.
- Running around like a chicken with its head cut off—my dad grew up in Newport and he and his brother raised chickens for the family grocery store. To kill the chickens, they chopped their head off and let it bleed out as it ran around the yard. Oh, stop being sensitive. It is life.
- Flew the coop—our chickens , thankfully have not done this. We have come home a few times though to neighborhood chickens milling about our yard.
- Cooped up—when we left our chickens over the long Thanksgiving weekend, we kept them cooped up. When we got home, we let them out and they seemed very glad to be out. The long winter ahead of us reminds me that we need to get out of our coop.
Our eggs are delicious. Even better is watching our girls be chickens. Digging, laying, sleeping. So far, though, the best thing about having chickens is realizing that we don’t have to go very far to have great adventures, life lessons and belly laughing.