Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bedtime for Chickens

Yesterday we performed the annual Wintering-In of the Chickens. This year, instead of just covering the chicken hut with a tarp because it was leaky and damp inside, we moved it to under the porch roof. The chickens had been avoiding the hut since the summer when various wild critters had taken to nocturnal visits, so yesterday I not only stowed various summer accessories, and cleaned the windows, and hosed off the porch, but cleaned out the interior of the hut, installed a light, filled the feeder, and piled a thick layer of pine shavings inside.

And then stuffed the birds inside and shut the thing up tight, because we were afraid that they would still eschew the hut. The perfectly nice, snug little hut that we provide for them and for which they are obviously not the least bit grateful.

Oh, but first I had to stand on a step stool and use a broom to swat one of the chickens down out of the trusses that support the roof, because she had found a way to get up there.

So, this morning I went out and opened up the little chicken door so they could strut down the little chicken ramp, and was underwhelmed by the response. They sat inside and beady-eyeballed me and utterly refused to come out. "We're warm," they implied with their disapproving clucks and grumbles, "and the wind is a-blowing outside, and there is food here. Also, soft clean shavings which we must befoul very quickly. Begone, freakish giant, and leave us to our important chicken duties." Which I did.

Later I took some leftover grilled cheese sandwich out to fling in the grass for them. Normally when I step outside and shrill "CHICKCHICKCHICK!" at them, they literally come running as fast as their scaly little legs can carry them from wherever they have been loafing, but today? Nothing. Not so much as a peep. I looked into the hut. There they sat, suspicious and still disapproving. It was not until I waved the sandwich plate around inside the hut that Beatrice grudgingly came out, followed by Elizabeth who was making the BOCKBOCKBOCKBOCK!!! sound that she usually only makes when the cat is staring at her through the window, thereby substantially harshing her trip. Naturally once they found the sandwich in the grass they got over themselves.

I was gone when it was time to put them to bed but I am told that they took themselves inside to bask in the glory of their Holy Bulb of Warmish Goodness, so it was a simple matter to shut their little door.

Fixing up their house in the fall makes me feel all good inside.

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