Those who follow this blog regularly know about our chicken attempt and subsequent failure. In an eggshell, chickens poop everywhere and dig up gardens (like the meticulous flower beds of our next door neighbors). There's a reason for chicken-crossing-the-road jokes, too...because they believe the grass is always greener and bugs fatter elsewhere. Our beautiful coop wasn't easily Winter-accessible (had we enjoyed a real Winter, anyway), and wouldn't have allowed for lighting or water-thawing. With varying degrees of reluctance, we gave the flock to our chicken-keeping neighbors across the road. And almost immediately had regrets. We'd grown fond of Millie & Mama in particular, and I was disappointed in myself for abandoning this project, especially after all the work, weekends, planning and money we poured into it. After much discussion, I'm pretty happy to write that our critter count will be expanding again this Spring...a chicken redux!
We like to learn from what went wrong, so the plan includes: a few less chickens; a smaller, less palatial coop built much closer to the house (with easy access to electricity so we can have light inside and out, and the ability to keep water from freezing); extensive fencing put in before the chickens arrive, giving half a dozen chickens close to a half-acre of ranging and foraging; outside access to the nestboxes so one doesn't have to go into the coop after being freshly showered and dressed for work; less worry and obsession while developing a personal acceptance of chicken poop as a life reality.
I arrived home from work one day last week and heard a familiar throaty chirrrr. Sure enough, there was a trio of hens who had made their way over to our yard...and Millie bobbed her way right up to me, wanting to know if I had treats in my bags. It warmed my heart and made me laugh to see her; turns out I'd missed her silly feather-spiked head and general nosiness more than I knew.