It’s a mixed bag. Loving a flock of chickens has it’s ups and downs. The downs are the nightmares where I dream someone is trying to boil my Rosey in a large pot and tears are running down her face as I helplessly run to stop it but can’t get my feet to move. Then there’s the fear of predators everyone seems to love to tell me about in great detail which makes me contemplate elaborate alarm systems on the chicken coop when I barely even lock my own front door.
The ups are all the things I’ve told you about; the purring, the observation of improvised chicken dancing, the awe and wonder we share from the simple fact that we love each other and of course does it get any better than sitting in the garden on a sunny day with a chicken in your lap? I think not. But there is this other factor I didn’t count on–my shear unabashed weirdness as a chicken great grandmother and how much I enjoy freaking people out who think I’m a strange duck, or should I say chicken?
Here are some excerpts from real life:
Guy on the bus over hears me speaking to an acquaintance about the chickens and asks:
Guy: “You got chickens? you gonna eat ’em?”
Me: “You got a dog?”
Me: Raised eyebrow.
Guy: Stunned silence, changes seats to the back of bus.
Me: inward laughter.
Now it’s not that I wanted him to eat his dog, I have a dog I love too and that’s unthinkable, nor did I want him to feel bad. But the fact is how we decide which animals to eat and which to befriend is an irrational process based on however our culture defines “meat” versus “pet”. I thought it’d be okay to point that out and in the process it gave me a chuckle.
Another cluck out loud moment is when someone suggested that once my chickens could no longer lay eggs I would have to get rid of them. She called that time in their lives “henopause” which I found pretty funny. Then the on line conversation went this way:
Me: “Wow I hope someone doesn’t kill me when I hit that.”
Her: “It’d be too late for me”
Me: “Look over your shoulder. lol”
She sent a smiley face back but I’m not sure how authentic it was.
And to answer the question about eggs once and for all, if the girls decide to grace us with their eggs I will eat them with permission and reverence and that will be nice. Do we have chickens so they can feed us? Oh heavens no. Do they have us so we can feed them? Well, maybe.
Just last night as we hung out clucking and cuddling I admit I found myself singing an old Beatles song with a slight word change: “I once had a chicken or should I say she once had me.” COL.
It makes me laugh at myself how I often feel that chickens and people have so much in common. One time I made the mistake of pointing this out by telling a woman friend of mine who had tall black boots on and tight leggings;
Me: “Wow you look terrific. You kind of remind me of Rosey, especially wearing all black.”
Her: “Oh who’s Rosey?”
Me: “My tall chicken. She’s stunning with black feathers.”
Her: “Oh, okay.”
Because she is kind and saw from my clueless smile that I meant well, she just looked mildly confused and then amused. I’m lucky to have so many good people (and chickens) in my life.
Then there are the countless times I evoke the great chicken metaphors which run through my head constantly, since as we’ve established, I’m obsessed. When a friend recently confessed she struggled with her future direction I told her I had the same problem finding inspiration until my muse, the chickens, showed up. I told her; “Just wait for your chicken to arrive.” She smiled sweetly. A week later I got a fabulous text message; “My chicken came.” It swelled my heart with joy, not only did she find inspiration but we share the same language now. It just keeps getting better.
I’ve had people tell me they are sure one or more of the diaries are actually based on their experiences as people and I’ve had others ask me specific questions about certain chickens and how they are doing because I’ve failed to pick up a story thread I dropped along the way. I love that.
I can’t help thinking that love opens so many doors if you are willing to walk all the way through it no matter where it takes you even if it’s to a chicken coop with high tech surveillance and air conditioning. No Rosey, you’re not really getting AC, cluck out loud. (unless that makes you mad in which case I’ll try to find a used one on e-bay because we all know who’s really calling the clucks around here and it aint me.) COL–happy face with a blush.