Monday, February 25, 2008

Kitchen Chickens

A couple of years ago, one of my hens disappeared. I figured the pesky raccoon I had been having problems with had made off with her.

One day I was looking out the kitchen window, and saw a hen with something around her. I could not figure out what it was. At least one of the things was white, and my first thought was that some mushrooms had sprouted up. The alpacas might eat them, so I went out to get rid of them.

Wait a minute, those mushrooms are moving! It was mama hen with 13 little chicks.

I don't know where her nest was, but I knew that she couldn't stay out there anymore. The coop wasn't secure against that pesky raccoon, so I hauled out the dog kennel. Mama hen seemed to understand exactly what it was for, because she herded her little brood right in. I closed it up, and carried them to the house. They spent the night in the kitchen.

And so it went. Every morning I would carry the kennel out to the pasture, and let them out.

Every night Mama hen would bring the brood into the kennel, and I'd go out, shut the door, and carry them to the kitchen. I kept moving the kennel closer to the house, because mama and thirteen babies were getting darn heavy as they grew. Eventually it got to the point that I was able to just move the kennel to the porch to let them out,

and bring them in at night. Even when Mama hen decided they were old enough to be on their own, and went to rejoin her adult friends on the roost in the coop at night, the babies still came to the porch and got in the kennel.

In the meantime, I was able to get the coop secure so that the pesky raccoon wasn't able to get in, so I tried to retrain them to go in the coop. This involved getting them into the kennel, carrying the kennel to the coop, and putting each chick into the coop.

Finally it got to the point that they didn't fit in the kennel anymore, they were too big and too many of them. A few of the pullets figured out to go into the coop straight off, instead of going to the porch.

It was just the band of roving cockerels (and one pullet) who couldn't figure it out. They kept going to the porch and roosting on my porch swing. I would have to carry them one by one to the coop. Such PITAS! Finally, I left them in the coop for two weeks straight, and didn't let them out. They got the hint, and no longer would I walk by the kitchen window and see this.

This whole extremely long post was just so I could show this picture. It cracks me up every time I see it.


Cindy said...

That last picture is wonderful. I have always wanted chickens, but with predators everywhere (even in suburbia), I'd be upset whenever I lost one. Besides, I'm not sure how the neighbors would react. They tend to be dyed-in-the-wood city dwellers.

rilera said...

I love your chicken stories! Your chickens are so pretty. How is the one you rescued from the other night?

Annie said...

Robyn, she is eating, drinking and pooping. I am very hopeful for a full recovery.

Cinnamin said...

They look so happy sitting there on the porch! Can chickens look happy??!! Thanks for sharing this story and the photos! :)

flintysooner said...

Living away from the city and having animals around really gives a different perspective.

Great story - enjoyed it immensely.

flintysooner said...

And Cin, chickens are just like all other animals. They have personalities individually. Some are happy. Some aren't. Or, that's my experience at least.

Olga said...

Thats a great story! You ought to write that up as a kids picture book! It's so interesting.

Miss T said...

Cute! Great story.

hopalong682003 said...

I love this story. I've been laughing about it all day...and tonight when my husband got home from work, I had to show him this entry. :-)

MJ said...

I'm so glad you posted this - it's one of my favorite Maple Corners stories, one I tell often. And the photo? It's like a Gary Larsen cartoon! Write your own caption - 'Hey, it's cold out here - let us in!'