Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chicks... or, a Poet w/ Poultry

I bought chicks today. Three Ameraucana and three Barred Rock. We set them up with a box in the living room where we can tend to them until they are hardy enough for outside life.

Mudslide, our shorthair border collie is hiding under my desk. In part we bought them for him, he needs a bit of socializing, and in part we bought them for our own spirit. I had thought about getting ducks, we have not had any ducks in a real long time, not since Perry City near to Podunk, but I ended up opting for the known duties of chicken tending.

On Saturday we are going to a Long Island farm a bit east of us for a Cornell Cooperative Extension class on chicken raising as a warmer course. We hope to socialize.

Years back we had chickens, and guinea fowl. The law is that as non-farmers we can have six chickens, no roosters. We can have as many guinea hens as we want... but they fly around and make a whole lot of noise and for now we want to get along with the neighbors. We have had a rooster or such but though they are a lot of fun they make noise early in the morning and inevitable result in the chicken police showing up at the front gate.

When we had the chickens before it started with a few and then word got around our semi-suburban working-class the neighborhood  that my wife kept chickens and suddenly lost chickens were being brought to us from all around. They were not always in the best of shape and my wife took to nursing them in the garage. This put the garage in limbo for anything other than bird poop.

Eventually all of the chickens and guinea fowl got taken out by the raccoons. Then the raccoons were taken out by distemper. We don’t see raccoons now but the garage was inhabited by feral cats overwintering.

While we had the chickens we did harvest the eggs. More than that there is a family that lived up the street of two women, a couple with a brood of two boys and a girl. These are not the most intelligent people on the planet, but it is for their ilk that we especially like where we live. The children used to come around and ask if they could search the yard for eggs. They were not doing this for an Easter hunt, they were hungry. We took to calling them the Egg Children.

We feel a bit blessed that I did not break down and buy a goat. I really like goats a whole lot but we do not quite have the yard for them. My wife wants a jackass.