Monday, March 1, 2010

Roosting With the Chicks

Saturday, my pal Em came by with her kiddo, Rob. They were looking for me so someone pointed down toward the barn. They found me, sitting in the chicken coop with the chicks.

Just sitting there. I'd been there for awhile, just watching the chicks in their new, roomier digs. See, the little cheepers had moved up from the brooding box in the mud room, to a wading pool surrounded by insulating foamboard, to their final home: the chicken coop.

I spent a couple hours cleaning the coop out Saturday, with some help from Mike: shoveled out the winter's worth of litter, scattered straw on the floor, put new hay in the nest boxes, dug out some bigger feeders and washed out another metal waterer and got the coop all fresh and ready for the 17 assorted little roosters and hens.

With help from Macy and her visiting, slightly flabbergasted friend, we transferred the chicks to the coop with two trips in the wheelbarrow, the girls on either side holding a board over the would-be jumpers, while we spirited them from their snug home behind the house to their new cozy home in the barnyard.

Mike broke away from the cleaning duties just before we transferred the chicks, and strung some electricity into the coop and hung their 250-watt brooding (heat) lamp. These little ones are growing bigger every day, but aren't old enough to contend with our below-freezing nights.

Once we got the chicks in, and the nosy dogs and Gertie out, the girls escaped to their fort building and I sat down on the little pot-bellied stove that's in the corner of the coop and watched the chicks settling in to their new home for awhile.

It was a surprisingly soothing time, watching the chicks explore the roomiest environment they'd ever been in, tentatively scratching around in the straw, bellying up to the biggest bowls of feed they've ever seen and getting their first glimpse of a metal poultry waterer. I sat quietly, hoping they'd just think of me as part of this new, safe home, and therefore, someone worth trusting. I talked to them quietly now and then, but mostly just sat there, watching them.

I silently promised that they'd get to grow old on the farm. By the time they're old enough to venture outside, they'll have a sturdy, safe, roomy chicken yard to explore where they will be safe from predators.

These are the warm, fuzzy musings that Em and Rob stumbled upon when they found me in the chicken coop.

Did you hear me?

This is truly, honestly what I was doing. Musing and relaxing with the chicks. Being soothed by poultry.


On the one hand, I love that I love this life. On the other hand, I worry my Mom may be right. That the chicken love is just plain weird. But there you have it. That's how it's going here on the little farm.

Love from the farm,

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