Wednesday, April 09, 2014

so long, little ones

This morning, just at dawn, I teach Ed the daily routines.
You get to see the sun come up from inside their pen.


Be careful with Lexie. She likes to hop onto the coop roof and watch your every move. She can be feisty, she can be calm. Whatever you have for them -- she wants to be first in line.


We talk about ways of making the cleaning of the coop base easier. Wood chips maybe?

Put out fresh water and you're done. You need do nothing more all day, except pick up the eggs and shut the coop at night.

That's the bare minimum. And I'm explaining it because late today, I'm leaving. A couple of days in Albuquerque with my friend who now lives there and then a couple of days at my younger girl's new place in Minneapolis. And so for four days and nights, Ed is the designated chicken guy at the farmette.

We let the brood out while we sit down to breakfast... 


...and as always, they go straight for my flower beds and I recoil. It's clear to me that they cannot be trusted without oversight. For the hours that we are not watching them, they will eventually have to have a larger pen. Their current enclosure is fine, but if you want pampered chickens, you'll want to give them even more space.

Ed's working on the design for the enclosure and I tell him that the perfect placement would be along the front of the barn. Right by the sheep shed. The space has long been overgrown with canes and weeds and last year I mowed it down sufficiently so that this year we can rip up the fabric that covers the dirt and create a nice (in my view) space for the chickens when we are not on chicken duty.

We work there now, pulling out fabric shreds, digging up weeds and the chickens are so in awe of what we're doing (all those freshly uncovered worms!) and they peck and scratch in places where it's good for them to peck and scratch (just think of all the ticks they're destroying!) and this is, of course, the moment of garden bliss where we are all working so productively together, enjoying each others peculiar idiosyncrasies, enjoying, most of all, being outside on this wonderful spring day.


In the late afternoon, just after I finish packing my case, I ask Ed -- where are the chickens? I no longer have that fear that they will vanish, that a predator will surely swoop down and get them. Mostly, I just want to know that they are not in a place where they may do damage.
Come and see -- he tells me.

Ah yes. Another moment of chicken joy. Together, resting,  keeping cool in the dirt underneath the thick bush. Almost smiling at me, don't you think?


Take care of Ed, little ones. And be good!