Sunday, May 10, 2009

The chickens entertain me.

I got up this morning and looked out the window to see the whole gang of chickens lolly-gagging outside the kitchen door. When they saw me peering out of my second story window they marched over to stand right underneath and cocked their heads so they could keep their beady eyes on me (well, one eye per bird, they can't look at me with both eyes at once).

I migrated over to the office and looked out the window again and they marched over to stand directly under that window. Then I called "chickennns!" and they went to bumble around outside the back door - where I put their breakfast - like early-bird shoppers at Filene's basement, elbowing each other out of the way.

My friend Mark the neuropsychiatrist told me it couldn't be done, he doubted me, but the fact is that I have trained the chickens to tap at the door for sunflower seeds. They don't always remember, in their excitement, but yesterday while we were painting there were some taps so perfect and classic that they could not be ignored. Sunflower seeds were thrown.

The fact is, sometimes Ez and I open that kitchen door and put a little pile of sunflower seeds inside on the floor. We love to watch the chickens play out their angsty dance of fear and greed, coming, going, squawking in frustration, walking in circles. The bottom line is, some will come in and some won't.

I like to watch them in the morning egg rush hour - they all like to lay during the same hour, it seems - waiting at the bottom of the henhouse ladder for the prized spots to be vacated. There are six spots, but only two are preferred and one of the other four is acceptable. They'll scramble up and down the ladder shouting, waiting for the currently reigning rear end to make way for the next.

They have no rooster, so Ez and I are the next best thing - if we surprise them they squat and stick out their elbows, bracing for the attack. Are they disappointed or relieved to live the celibate life?



At 11:14 AM, Blogger Cap'n Sylvia Sharkbait said...

Good morning. I always enjoy hearing about your chickens. I can't believe I've let a couple of weeks slide by without checking in. Congratulations on your new wedding song blog. I very much enjoyed both of your mother's day songs even though they made me cry a little. I hope you have a beautiful and pleasant mother's day!

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Alma said...

I agree with Sylvia, Jethro and his "chicks" are always fun to read about. I often retell your animal stories to my husband and/or kids... They always ask "Oh, you mean your blog-mom?" which is what we call you even though I have not blogged since the end of La Fea Mas Bella.

Happy [slightly belated] Blog-Mom's day!

Excitedly awaiting your rendition of "Un Rinconcito En El Cielo"...


At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Mike S said...

Ezra says you are eccentric but I’ll give you this; you have plenty of fenced-in land and it seems like you can have a little fun with your barnyard animals without your neighbors objecting. I’m mean… I don’t think you even get any complaints about some of your voice students :-)

I, on the other hand, live on a quarter acre lot without a fence. My next-door neighbor has just announced to all my neighbors and me that he is planning to put in a chicken coop and raise 6 hens. He finds this very exciting and "hilarious." He can’t wait to get started. Everybody kind of nodded their heads and smiled. I came right out and told him that I wasn’t happy about it. I don’t really think he can handle the scope of it all.

So, tomorrow is a big event in Raleigh, Henside the BeltlineTour d'Coop . He’s very excited about it and I CAN’T hardly wait to hear his stories about how great it was. But I think the door will be open for me voice my opinion again. He has been avoiding me since I spoke up.

I was wondering if you would tell me some of the bad things about raising chickens. Does it smell? How often do you have to clean up after them? Can you keep them in a chicken coop all the time or are they going to escape? …Anything you can offer to make a good argument. I have an idea where his energy would really go after he got it all set up.

I’m sure that asking a Pro-chicken person to speak out against another may be stepping over the line but I truly believe that there is a potential here for fowl neglect and neighborly unrest.

Please help.


At 7:13 PM, Blogger melinama said...

Are you kidding me, Mike? There are no downsides to having chickens around.

At 5:31 PM, Anonymous Mike S said...

I hope you're right. Construction has officially begun...



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