I don’t know if you can read the joy in this column. I can’t convey it accurately with words, but I want you to feel it, experience it and share it with me when you read the following statement. Ready?
I have chickens (insert squeal).
Yep, my wannabe farmer dream of a country life has been fulfilled with the recent addition of four of the most beautiful chickens you’ve ever seen. What? They’re beauties. Gorgeous chickens.
Don’t ask me what breed they are because my answer will be white with a few black feathers on their tails and waxy red combs. You’d be surprised how this answer upsets chicken aficionados. I had no idea how serious people are about their chickens. I am about to become one of those people. I’m going to be a poultry snob. This makes me happy.
The research into my new feathered friends has been both educational and entertaining. From food, to care, to safety, to ways to amuse chickens, I’m obsessed. It begs the question, why did I wait so long to have chickens in my life? The answer: The Carpenter. When we lived in town, he wanted no part of the backyard chicken trend.
Ah, but the wide open spaces of country life have softened his soul. When it came to building the chicken coop, my man over-achieved.
About 90% of the structure is recycled. The coop is a refurbished ticket-booth from a local festival, now insulated, with new floors, nesting boxes, two-by-four perches and a recycled window. From the Habitat for Humanity Re-store he found most of the hardware and a refurbished door for our entrance into the coop, so I can clean it out and collect the eggs. Recycled wood pieces made for a nice ramp and drop-down door so the chickens can safely come and go into their home. The pen area is spacious and secure too. It’s a chicken fortress.
Getting chickens is probably the best thing I’ve done for my mental health since moving to the country. The early morning routines get me up and moving. Taking care of creatures that wait in the window for me to open the gate, I can’t explain it, but they make me happy. It’s cheap therapy.
Sure, ask me how cute it is in January, when it’s too cold to breathe, but I know my answer will be the same: joy. Pure and simple joy. Check back with me.
Sometimes I take my morning coffee into the coop, sit on their balance beam and engage in a hen chat. The chickens peck about, cluck their opinions or relax in their dust baths. It’s the best conversation of my week.
I bet you’re wondering what I’ve named them. I thought about the Fab Four, but Paul and Lennon kept nipping each other and Ringo wouldn’t come outside. George was indifferent.
I’m still getting to know my chickens’ unique personalities, but here’s a few of the names in consideration: Hennifer Lopez (she’s the curvy one); Hennifer Anniston (has the best feathers, named for the Carpenter’s celebrity crush); Bend it Like Peckham (for the chicken with the bent comb); and Johannes Sebastian Bock, because that made me laugh when my daughter suggested it.
For Christmas, I have asked for a goose. Anyone want to lay a bet that won’t happen? I’d name it Gander. Wish me luck.