Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Raising Chickens...?

Sick of paying outrageous prices for organic eggs, my farm raised Uncle, in the middle of Chicago Suburbia, built a chicken coop and sent away for chicken eggs.

The eggs arrived morphing into chickens until a year later...pop! The first egg. Sadly some of the chickens were eaten by various rodents that broke into the chicken pen till my Uncle had the coop reinforced.

Visiting Chicago with my "can’t-we-get-chickens" kids this week, they were excited to see the birds and graciously offered to care for the chickens when my uncle left town for a week. Our job was easy: Fill the bowls with feed, water, then go collect the eggs. It was like being on a farm…only the farm was a 8 x 20 foot shed.

The first day was scary, the chickens didn't know us and we didn't know them. The second day was scarier, the chickens almost seemed to be trying to attack us. The third day my kids convinced me they could do this job on their own and returned sweaty and panicked: “The chickens are out! They are attacking!”

I ran to my uncles house with a broom and a red towel (bulls follow it, why not chickens?). Then with my kids screaming in the background, I got all the chickens back in the pen. Catching my breath I realized the upturned empty bowls for their water and feed were deep in the pen. I had to go back in. With feed in my hands I ran to the bowls as the chickens charged me with their heads and bodies. Literally they would run on their ledges and launch themselves into the air and then me, sacrificing pain to get me out of their home.

Scratched but not bleeding I closed the pen and left with my shaking children. For the rest of the week, we threw feed in. They were chickens, they didn’t need a bowl! The water I put by the door and filled it with a heavily padded arm.

The question came up about getting chickens and my kids all paused, “What about a dog?”

I wasn’t ready for a dog, but at least the chicken idea is gone for good.

No comments: