Nope. It’s DEFINITELY love. ♥♥♥
When we got our chickens (ya, I know, but I’ve given you quite a break from the chicken love posts ), hunny was skeptical about the “pet” aspect of it all. They had a purpose outside of just being cute- to give us eggs. Eggs they give us, of course, as we think everyone is laying now. I don’t any of us anticipated how attached we’d get to our girls.
Seeing as it’s winter and the days are shorter, some days we get more; some days a few less. On average, we get about 7 eggs a day, and I’m kind of glad pre-baking that they are taking turns, because come spring, we’re going to be innundated with eggs. But I’m not complaining!
We’re working on our 6th dozen of eggs in the fridge, and we’ve been blowing through them pretty regularly. This is about a week’s worth of eggs. A big scramble today and baking this week should whittle that number down. We are totally having a great time!
The last several years, I’ve been “working” on getting hunny on board with the chickens. He’s a major animal lover, and has always had fantastic rapport with birds, so I figured, even though these birds would be bigger, he’d still enjoy them. Initially, he was skeptical. After all, chickens are not known for their exceptionally large brains and “skills”.
As babies, chickens are cute and fuzzy. We used to play with them on our bed (covered in towels, of course). My Sugar used to crawl up the leg of my shorts and take a nap. All of them have been regularly handled since they were day-old chicks, so this is probably why they are more like pets than anything else.
In the beginning, I was thinking along the lines of them being friendly but utilitarian; as in, once they stopped laying, they would go to freezer camp (if we could find someone to process them) and would be re-purposed. Now, our rule is: We don’t eat our friends.
We will muddle through eating strange chickens, all the while reminding ourselves that we’re doing them a favor. Given the terrible conditions they were forced to live in, not eating them would not honor their miserable lives. But. We simply do not eat our friends.
These days, it’s surprising if someone goes into the run and Rocky doesn’t hop up on top of them. Depending on the person, the head might be the landing zone; we bigger people have backs and shoulders that do quite well. It’s actually pretty funny.
When hunny goes to put them to bed at night, he talks to them and checks to make sure everyone is ok. They’ll hop down from the roost and come to check out the food/water, and give him love boops. Yep, this is what it sounds like- not all the time a coo, but more of a “boop boop boop,” as they talk back, and come for their evening petting. We’ve got a few who really like to be scratched/rubbed under their wings. It’s pretty funny when they come to you and lift a wing as if to say, “Hey, would you scratch right there? Ya, that’s the spot….. ahhhhhhh.”
As part of our backyard plan, we had talked about moving the chicken condo to the garden area. In the few weeks of our discussion, while I initially agreed, I’ve changed my mind. While I’m sitting here at my computer, I can glance over and see all my girls- not just see them from afar, but REALLY see them; to make sure everyone is behaving. We’ve still got some plucking going on (no, not a need for more protein or more space, but habits, I’m afraid, that need some more intervention, now that the big brooder is out of the living room), so this is particularly important right now.
I realized in short order that where we were planning to move the condo to would be further away, and would necessitate me moving my chair. No longer would I be able to just glance over or see them out of the corner of my eye; I’d have to stop what I was doing and roll my chair back. In all reality, this would mean I’d have less eye-time with them. Booooooo!!
So, the new plan is to put the shed in that part of the garden instead, and join the two paths together. We’ve also got to finish the other set of nesting boxes, but that will happen after we’ve built the shed. In a perfect world, we’d still figure out how to get into the country, but this will have to do until we get the house back on the market and sold.
The best part of all of this, is, of course, the girls. There is nothing cuter, in my opinion, than a really sweet chicken coop and run. Chickens give a whole new meaning to “friends with benefits.”
Yep, it’s love alright!
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