Who would have thought that I could get so much pleasure from four little chickens ?
My devoted husband has been doing some substantial upgrades to our chicken house in anticipation of getting some new ‘girls’. We have had a bit of a rough run with dogs or foxes taking our last two lots and breaking my heart in the mean time. Some people have dogs or cats… I have chickens. Loved up chickens who get cuddled and coddled.
A couple of days ago we went to the farm supply shop to get ourselves some chickens – I was a bit reticent after the sad loss of our other girls but chickens are a big part of our semi-pemiculture set up here and we were really missing their lovely cluckiness and the fantastic way they contribute to the food growing process. We usually get them at point of lay – around 16 weeks old – and although I am always happy to have them I do feel saddened that the breeders seem to think they have to have their beaks trimmed. It’s cruel and unnecessary and they are never quite able to peck properly. After all the rough handling they have received in their short lives they can tend to be a bit skittish too. I usually make it my mission to love them up and to give them the nicest possible life… with no threat of death from their vegetarian family and a long and languid retirement once the eggs stop coming.
We have usually chosen these birds because it has felt good to liberate them from the dingy surroundings of the chicken farm but this time something different happened.
We walked into the shop braced for the sad choice of which chickens to take and which ones had to be left behind when we saw the mesmerising sight of little, fluffy two weeks old girls. They are tiny and helpless and best of all, they have all of their beak!
After umming and aahhhing about where we would keep them and getting the logistics right we left the store with four of these little gems and I have been feeling ridiculously happy ever since. They already have little personalities all their own and are getting more and more adventurous by the hour.
So here’s to our new feathery friends. May they live long and happily doing what chickens are supposed to – pecking and dust bathing, laying a few eggs and eating all our yummy scraps….. and bringing along a lot of happiness at the same time.