As you may sense, I've been slowly losing my patience over the past month. Scolding and sweet talking my flock were getting me nowhere. Extra servings of table scraps were to no avail. Getting desperate, I gingerly placed one of my store bought eggs in a nesting box thinking I'd heard somewhere that it could stimulate egg laying. It didn't.
I realized in frustration that I can't make a chicken lay an egg. And for some reason, this angered me a little. So much so that I decided it was time to end things with my chickens. Not end as in...you know. Rather, send my chickens away. To a nice little farm somewhere. As it were, we were heading out of town for a weekend. Normally, I would have refused a weekend adventure, as organizing care for all of my critters seems more work than the fun a vacation would offer. But, the idea of a weekend away with my family and my littles eventually won my heart over. We decided to take our chickens to Carrie's for the weekend as she had a chicken sitter secured. What Carrie didn't know was that I wouldn't be taking them back after our trip.
I planned to move them the night before our trip when they were sleeping, thus avoiding any potential break up awkwardness. But that day turned into a really bad day filled with car troubles and work troubles and life troubles. It was the kind of day that made me want to try my hand at catching chickens midday because whatever were to go wrong couldn't possibly make my day any worse and whatever were to go right just might be the highlight of my day. Besides, if I didn't busy myself with chicken catching, I'd quickly find myself sitting on my living room floor with a half-gallon of ice cream in my lap.
E watched through the kitchen window and A peered on from his snow fort making in the yard as I marched through the snow towards the coop in my fluffy designer boots. I opened the coop and saw them nestled together snugly. My heart softened at the sight of them clucking gently to each other. Pushing pleasant thoughts aside, I focused on the task at hand. I gently put my hands in and around Miss Stacy and lifted her out of the coop, finding myself holding a hen for the first time.
Have you ever held a chicken?
It was just the most wonderful experience. That sweet little hen was so soft and warm and fragile in my arms, its little heart beating rapidly in my hands. I held her softly for a minute, my heart filling with gentleness as I questioned my decision to send them away. I crated her safely and reached in for Buster. Buster was just as docile with the move, and I was a little more sure with my handling the second time around. I secured them in the back of the car and loaded my children into their car seats. E sang to the chickens to soothe them on the drive over to Carrie's.
When we arrived, I introduced the chickens to their new flock, having resolved on the short drive over that I would in fact pick them up when we returned from our trip. Eggs or no eggs, I'd keep caring for these sweet chickens. And possibly I'd carry them around in my arms just for fun. But, man you'd be surprised how much chickens look alike. They disappeared into the large flock, a sea of light and dark orange feathers.
"You'll be okay Miss Stacy", I cooed to a chicken who had a 1 in 9 chance of actually being Miss Stacy.
"Okay, we'll just see you Monday then," I reassured myself, speaking now to the air as the chickens scratched the dirt floor ignoring me.
I backed away slowly. Feeling a little like my chickens had possibly broken up with me. Which made me feel better about breaking up with them. It was mutual.