Friday, July 2, 2010

Fear and Loathing in the Chicken Coop

If you were a newly hatched chick pecking around in a farm store with your peeps and my family entered the store I would have this piece of advice for you: play dead, look sickly, or make yourself an otherwise unattractive baby chicken specimen.

Over the past 2 months we have purchased one chicken coop and 9 chickens. We have 4 left. The sequence of events has been as follows:
1. See man on side of road selling chicken coops. Screeching tires, u-turn and a few minutes later money is exchanged and coop is loaded into van. (Did I mention the man said he was an Amish man from Montana who drove his truck into town to sell the coops? Many, many sketchy things about that story and perhaps a bad omen...)
2. Purchase 3 baby Aracana chicks at feed store on way home. They are names Spiderman, Tibbs (an Ethiopian chicken
dish) and Addis
3. Set up "brooder" for baby chicks. First attempt at brooder consists of large plastic tub with a heat lamp. Chickens are happy, dog is going CRAZY. We decided to keep chickens in the office where the door can be locked. My husband breaths deeply as his neat (read slightly OCD) nature and the chicks penchant for spreading hay all over the place clash. I suspect he sneaks downstairs at night and Purells them.
3. Hayden is dropped off after school by my good friend. I take a chick down to the car to show her kids. Hayden and I return to the house. We are walking in the door and the dog is sitting on the carpet in the living room chewing on a chicken. I slam the door in Haydens face leaving him on the porch, close the curtains, grab the chicken out of the dogs mouth and put the dog in the backyard. I peek into the office (where the door has been busted open) and find the plastic tub overturned sweet little chick numero dos breathing it's last breaths. I close the door, bring Hayden inside and usher him up to his room for quiet time. Thank GOD by the time I come back down the second chick is dead and I can get rid of it - I was having visions of having to do something to hasten it's death and I wasn't sure I was up for that. Score- Dog 2, Chickens 1.
4. Call Jeremy, recount events in tearful hyper voice. After calming me down he concocts a story about how 2 of the chickens went to his office to visit him and he would bring them home after work. He then sped off to the store to buy 2 chickens. My hero.
5. 2 new chickens arrive. The are Spiderman (sub 2) and Tibbs (sub 2). Addis, the surviving chicken, and the 2 substitute chickens are placed in a plastic tub inside a dog crate. We believe dog-related problems have been thwarted.
6. The chickens survive; nay, thrive. They are big enough to move into their coop. They free range in the back yard (when the dog is inside). The kids play with them and Jeremy and I feel smug and cool and green.
7. It is summer. Jeremy has gone into work early and the kids and I come down for breakfast. I look out and see that the chickens are in their coop and the coop door is closed. I let the dog out into the yard to eat breakfast and I feed the kids. Everyone is munching on cereal and yogurt and I notice the dog is not pressing his nose up to the back door to come in and sit below Zeni's high chair waiting for blobs of yogurt to drop. Odd..... but a glance out the backdoor and everything makes sense. The dog isn't interested in yogurt because he is busy killing the third of three chickens. He didn't actually eat them this time but he did gut them - I literally picked a still beating chicken heart out of our grass. Dog 5, chickens 0.
Are you fucking kidding me?! I still have no idea how it happened.
8. I know. You're pleading with me - no more chickens! It's crossed the line into animal cruelty - clearly we are not a household fit to have chickens. Our dog doesn't like them, or we have angered the chicken gods, or whatever - the point is chickens check in but not out of our abode.
9. 4 new chicks. If you ask our children they would tell you that the old chickens grew up and went to the grown up chicken farm. ("Can we visit them?" "Uhh....") So may I present the new flock, fresh from a bath and a blow dry (they really smelled!). From left to right: Hayden, Four and Minerva. I'm not naming mine - I'm taking a page from women in countries with high infant mortality who don't name their children until they reach 6 months.
Wish 'em luck.


MommyOver40 said...

Um...I'm not bringing my little baby Joey to your house until he is bigger than your dog. (: Just kidding.

Karen said...

oh god.

dearheart said...

Love the Hotel CA nod, if you can love such things and not be considered cruel. So sad that Addis didn't survive round 2. I was rootin' for that little guy.

Anonymous said...

I think it's time we got your dog some different dogfood...NOT the chicken flavored dog chow.
Hilarious...Sarah Dix

Me. Us. She. said...

Hilarious and tragic post. I had to read it aloud to my husband!

Lyndsay said...

Is there something wrong with me if I found this post totally hilarious??