What is up with all the chickens? My most personal, up-close encounter is with the neighborhood rooster who made his appearance several months ago. From what I can tell, he lives maybe two or three blocks away. And you know that thing about roosters crowing at dawn? Well, they do that, and they also crow any other time they damn well please. Lately, he has really stepped up his game. As Fakesister suggests, it’s spring, when a young man’s fancy turns to…you know. The only time he doesn’t crow is in the dead of night, or when it rains. I spend a lot of time praying for rain (or dark). I’ve never actually seen him in person, but let’s assume he looks something like this:
Recently, blog friend Nancy DeMarco has been keeping us updated on the progress of Frankenchick. Frankie, as she’s now affectionately known, was pecked mercilessly by an adult hen shortly after birth, resulting in a serious head wound and an eye that swelled shut. Then from sitting under her Mom, some of Mom’s feathers became embedded in Frankie’s head, making her look seriously weird. Thus, Frankenchick. You can read all about it here: http://nancydemarco.wordpress.com/ Nancy tells it better than I could. But I have to add that one of the most recent developments is that Frankie has become addicted to Monterrey Jack cheese.
Two people in my office, Colleen and Kitty, decided to get chickens this year. Kitty is an experienced chicken owner, but this would be Colleen’s first time. Colleen is a bit on the OCD side, which is a bit of an understatement. For instance, at work, every problem can be solved by creating a spreadsheet (except for those that can’t). But if there’s a way, Colleen will find it. We constantly tease her, in the very nicest way of course. If someone brings up an issue, we say, “I know! Let’s get Colleen to make a spreadsheet!”
The point here is that she spent weeks researching the best kinds of chickens to get, what to feed them, and how to make a cheap chicken coop. For the latter, you can buy plans for about $5 and build a DIY A-frame coop. For more than you probably ever wanted to know about chicken coops, here’s an example: http://www.chickenhousesplus.com/chcopl.html I don’t know how I ever lived without knowing there’s a website called chickenhousesplus.com.
At last she felt she was ready, and Kitty told her if she would wait a couple of weeks, her mother-in-law would give her chicks for free, which is where Kitty was getting hers. So what does Colleen do? She goes that very weekend and buys chicks. Another, somewhat paradoxical, OCD symptom. Weeks and weeks of meticulous research followed by an impulsive moment where caution is thrown to the winds.
She had only one small problem, which is that the coop wasn’t built yet. Colleen’s strategy was that if she got them, it would spur her boyfriend to go ahead and build the coop. She could probably do it herself, but her boyfriend is a carpenter and his work would likely be sturdier than hers. Unfortunately, like many passive-aggressive plans, that didn’t work any better than nagging. The coop still isn’t built. (I think his excuse is something like “Honey, I have a headache”. Plus there’s that busman’s holiday thing. The last thing he wants to do after a full day of working construction is come home and build something.) So the chickens are living in the house.
I can’t say I know much of anything about chickens, so I was surprised at how big they’ve grown in about 3 weeks. She showed me a picture last week on her iPhone of a now teen-aged chicken roosting on top of a window. And while I may not know much, I do know this: you can’t housebreak a chicken.
So if all that weren’t enough, Saturday one of my friends posted a picture on Facebook from her back yard of–you guessed it–an A-frame chicken coop! Her young son’s grandfather built it for him. So you can see why I’m feeling surrounded by chickens. I’m happy to report that I have NOT been inspired to buy any of my own.