They don’t live in the living room anymore.
Hallelujer! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
The two weeks Pat said they’d be inside turned into a month, and I couldn’t wait for them to head outside. I mean, they’re HUGE (I always hear that word in Donald Trump’s ” ‘UGE” voice when I say it or type it. I hope you will now, too) and couldn’t handle the plastic tote they were living in a second longer.
Weather has been particularly Alabamaish for the last 2 weeks. You know the kind where you need the heater in your car on the drive to work, and by the afternoon, you’ve either got the windows down or the air cranked up? Lots of that junk.
And rain. Lots of rain. It’s April.
That meant the chickens were too fragile, according to Pat, to be outside least they catch some weird foot disease and die.
Whatever. What’s another week or so putting up with the red glow from the heat lamp, or that strange scent from the pine shavings, or even the faint undertone of chicken crap floating through the house? No biggie.
Except I was over it. I vacuum every week, but even 3 times a week just wasn’t cutting it to be able to stay on top of the down feathers the chicks were constantly losing or the never ending pine shavings sprinkled throughout the room thanks to my husband.
But Sunday was nice enough, and the week ahead looked like the best time to move the 7 of them down to the coop. Glory Be! It was a good day.
Gypsy stood guard in her usually creepy manor: Shaking and foaming at the mouth while she paced around the chicken wire. The big dogs, we feel like, were wondering why those strange animals kept making such tasty noises, and the kids just wanted to climb the ramp to get into the part where the nesting boxes will be.
Pat put them up at dusk the first night, set his alarm for literal daylight to let them back out, and was practically giddy when he came back in to give an update on how they did. It took them a bit to figure out how to navigate the ramp up to nest, despite how many times MH modeled the behavior needed to make it happen, but now that they know what to do, it’s like they’re real chickens or something!
They’re so much fun to watch. The roosters are hilarious. Very rooster-like with their puffed up chests, and they make us belly laugh when they throw their little heads back and practice crowing. They haven’t found their actual voices yet, but watching them learn how to do it is the best.
Also, the hens like to do some weird posing where they stretch out one leg and put one of their wings up at an odd angle. I just knew one was in the midst of sun stroke when I found her Monday afternoon, but we’ve since discovered they all do it randomly. They just look at you like you’re the one with a problem when you say something to them and shake themselves out of it the second you move towards them. (Uh… if this is a serious chicken problem, let me know.)
They seem to really be enjoying it outside. They haven’t worked out how to stay up on the roosting branches very well, but they are experts at pooping right next to the gate. Pat devised a way to put the latch on the inside of the gate so you could be inside and get back out without needing someone down there with you. That’s code for Challenge Accepted from Hank and Amos. It took them negative 40 seconds to learn how to open the door, so Pat added an extra latch too high for them to reach. It makes them both very mad.
We’re still a few months from getting eggs, but getting to experience this has been great. The kids are incredibly interested in all things Chicken (for now) and are excited to help with them. I haven’t been this excited to see ALL the pink carpet in our living room since, well, never… but I am happy the room is back to a little bit of normal for the time being. Other than Pat coming home most days with articles, or videos, or new Instagram accounts for us to follow on how to be sustainable farmers, it seems like we’re going to be legit chicken people now.
Should be fun!