Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spring Is Coming; I Might Need Chickens

I swear, the air is so soft this morning and the sky is so blue I just want to go plant MYSELF in the dirt. I can feel the buds forming, I can feel the dirt warming, I can feel the planet turning, heading towards spring.
This morning, when I was still in bed, contemplating getting up and starting my day, some bird was calling a show-off song that lasted so long I couldn't figure out how he did it without taking a breath. He was like one of those monks that can chant on the inhale as well as the exhale and even to me, a creature not of his species, the message was clear- I am a bird of unnatural and supernatural abilities. Do not mess with me unless you come to mate! And if you come to mate, I will give you the finest of babies, the strongest and most beautiful of babies and I will protect you and I will help you feed and nurture them and our nest will be the showplace of all the county!
Hey. I was impressed.
When I went over to Kathleen's house last week we went to visit her chickens. She has a tidy coop where they live and they all have names and it's a cozy world of a harem- one rooster and four or five hens and yes, a bunny rabbit lives with them, too.
But it was the chickens I adored. They were so glossy and proud and as we stood there, eggs started appearing in Kathleen's hand like magic. Such clean, brown eggs, one, two, three, and I came home and told Mr. Moon that I, too, would like chickens.
We know nothing about chickens. I had a hen once, and a rooster too but that damn hen never laid one egg and the rooster annoyed the snot out of me as his pen was right outside my bedroom window.
Nowadays I love the sound of chickens and roosters. Our next door neighbor has a coop-full and they peck and cluck and the roosters crow on and off all day long. It would be nice to have a few fat hens of our own and a rooster to protect them, I think. I could throw all my kitchen scraps out to them and also the weeds I pull. That darn Betony I spend my life pulling up should be good for something. And of course, I grew up watching Lassie where Timmy's mother was always to be found throwing feed to her chickens and I, too, would like to wear a nice gingham shirtdress and an apron, a bowl in my hands, scattering corn to a flock of happy birds.
Mr. Moon liked the idea a lot. He's wanted chickens for a long time and I've been the one that resisted the idea because- well- one more set of critters I would need to take care of. They need water and food, of course, and fresh hay in their coop and then the old hay has to be forked up and taken out. But I think I'm ready.
We don't even eat that many eggs, but I have four children and they all eat eggs. The egg is not only the perfect food, it is the perfect shape, and it was the image of those warm eggs appearing in Kathleen's hand that I keep going back to. A hand full of chicken eggs seems to me to be some sort of perfection and perfect symbiosis between bird and woman.
I am considering the proposition. I am wondering if it's only spring talking to me, trying to lull me into the idea that I need chickens to create eggs to fulfill some sort of pagan yearning.
Or is it the fact that as we grow older, we become more and more fascinated with birds in general? Or perhaps those black-and-white images of Timmy's mother, the birds clustering around her feet to get at the food she's scattering?
Or is it just the way Kathleen's palm looked as she cradled those eggs her hens seemed to give up so joyfully?
I don't know. We shall see. Mr. Moon has a lot on his plate, so to speak, already and although he says he could build a coop in a day (and I think he probably could), I'm sure it will end up being more work than I imagined.
But maybe not. Maybe it would be a lovely thing. I'd feed them scraps and chicken chow and they'd give me eggs and gentle clucking and their poop for the garden.
I can see the rooster in my mind, strutting and rutting, calling out like that bird I heard this morning to say, "This is mine, this is mine, all you fine girls get in line."
Spring. It'll do crazy things to your head whether you're a wild bird, a domestic bird, or a woman contemplating birds of her own.
I'll let you know.


  1. That was a great post. I think chickens is a wonderful idea. Just think, I can come out there and get all the fresh eggs that I can muster! Haha. Oh wait, that doesn't benefit you much, does it?
    Well, I'll come out there and help with some building of a chicken house, just let Papa know.

  2. if I had the time and space for chickens I would totally get some- I was on a farm last summer for a music festival I was working at, and the lady there let me get some fresh eggs from her chickens for breakfast. It was awesome and really fun to go steal eggs from under the chickens :) Plus then you know that your eggs are from animals that are being treated nicely, by you!

    I say you should go for it!

  3. It is funny that you wrote about chickens today. Just last night I was talking to a co-worker of mine about a his recently deceased chicken. He loved that bird! He said that chickens make great pets, are cheap, and easy to care for. Also that they eat the bugs in your yard and give you free eggs. Sadly, they are not the best match for a hawk. I think you sould get chickens right away! I want to go with you to pick them out. Anyway, I love you and will talk to you later.

  4. Our Chicken condo is waiting for Mr. Moon to come and haul it next door. It comes complete with ready made nests AND a tiny ladder for the dames to climb up to the nesting area... And in the current economy, you just cannot beat the price. And, if you pick it before midnight tonight, we'll throw in the tin roof for free! :-) Please get the coop?...
    Yours truly,

  5. HoneyLuna- I know you would eat some eggs. You would cuddle the chickens and sing to them, too.

    Ms. Eden- So you vote "yes". Noted.

    Lily- You will have to come out and hang with the chickens because I know you have always wanted a chicken of your own. As you said the other day, "NOW you get chickens?" You can definitely go chickens shopping with me. And we would keep them in a hawk-proof coop.
    I love you, too.

    Petit Fleur- That's right! You have a chicken coop! I will advise Mr. Moon of this! Yay!

  6. Will you name on Camilla if you get some?

  7. I am fascinated. And just a little jealous. Do you know that they ship you little baby chicks little boxes? You could even pickle them and put them out in your new business. You could rename your property The Peeping Moon! You could....
    ok. . . I has too much coffee today... But I say go for it!

  8. um..two things..I meant pickle the EGGS. not the baby chicks. good grief. and I HAD too much coffee. walking away now with my head in my hands...

  9. Ginger- Great idea! I had a cat once named Gardenia.

    Just Me- I figured that one out but really, a pickled egg is naught but a preborn pickled chick, right? Now, I am off to get coffee of my own!

  10. Yep, this made me think of when Lily wanted chickens so, so badly.

    I think you should go for it. maybe you could raise a prize rooster and take him to the fair!

  11. hmmmmm....chickens....I don't know how I feel about that. Our neighbors had them when we were children, and they were foul tempered beasts who would chase us down and peck us bloody. Maybe that was just the roosters, but I am leery of them all just the same. Now ducks, they just seem a gentler sort of fowl. And no 5AM wake up crowing. Have you considered ducks?

  12. I briefly owned a green-dyed chick, back when you could buy them at 5 and 10 Cent Stores (don't get me started on where have they all gone!). I don't think I had it more than a week before I came down for breakfast one day and found out that my father had 'taken it to a farm, so it could have more room and could roam outside.' I don't think I had even given it a name, I was waiting to find out if it was male or female. I so wanted to believe that story my mother told me. That sums up my experience with live poultry.

  13. DTG- I just want to raise a rooster who doesn't peck me to death every time I try to enter his domain.

    Rachel- I think ducks would need some water. Besides, this will give me a good excuse to get some really funky rubber boots if my rooster likes to peck. Which I hope he doesn't.

    MOB- Well, maybe you can adopt one of my chickens and it can be your virtual fowl pet.

  14. Chickens are so cute. I love it how you can pick them up and move their body around but their head stays in the same place.

    I love fresh chicken eggs.

  15. Meli- You came by for a visit! I'm so happy.
    Well, if we get chickens, you and Jessie have to come out and play music for them and take their pictures. Okay?
    Have a good gig tomorrow night!

  16. And this way, you won't have to drive to get chicken poo for the garden! It'll be right there!


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