Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chickens Have Curb Appeal

For years I wanted chickens.  Mostly I wanted them because I like being around animals, but I also wanted fresh eggs and access to chicken manure for the garden.  After we bought our house, which came with a yard, I started a chicken campaign in order to convince Brandon that he wanted chickens too.  Because, you know, it's not enough that I get what I want, I also want him to want what I want.  He needed to be invested in chicken ownership too, so he could build a chicken coop to my specifications, lug heavy bags of chicken feed at my will, and feed, water, and care for them when I don't.  That's not too much to ask, right?   

The photo above is Rosie on the left, and Egret on the right.  They are getting old enough now that they are starting to look less like teenage dinosaurs with feathers, and more like real hens.  

So, after about five years, Brandon either came around to my way of thinking due to my persuasiveness, or his will was broken and to get me to shut up about it he finally agreed that we should get chickens.  Only two, and they must be in their coop at all times, right, Rain?  In the coop always?  Promise?  Rain?  Oh yes.  

Mrs. Hall, above, is still a good looking hen, especially for her age.  Now that I have young hens I really notice how old her feet look.  They're all knobby and wrinkly.  I notice the same thing about my own hands as I age.  I bet if Mrs. Hall put her feet under one of those super powered hand dryers at the mall she would see her skin blow around in ripples just like I do!

In the beginning, we stuck to our self imposed chicken ownership rules.  Helen and Mrs. Hall went straight from the brooder to the coop, and I diligently moved the coop every day at least once.  See Brandon, no chicken poop on the porch like you feared.  Then we started letting them out in the evening when we were there to watch them, which made us realize that they really prefer being out of the coop.  It wasn't long before Brandon would see them in the coop and let them out, all on his own.  He was hooked.  

That's Mrs. Hall facing the camera, and Rosie and Egret on the right side of the photo.  Mrs. Hall is shorter and rounder than the young hens, but she's still the boss and they don't dare to get within pecking distance of her.  

There's a great thing about having chickens that I didn't consciously consider when I was staging my chicken campaign - chickens are pretty!  It only makes sense that an animal bred by humans over thousands of years would have a certain curb appeal, especially to the human eye, but it wasn't until I had Helen and Mrs. Hall roaming my garden that I really understood the decorative benefit of a few well placed chickens.    I particularly like the pose Mrs. Hall is striking in the photo above.  She looks so fluffy, and the turn of her head is very graceful.  

As you can probably tell from the many photos I take of my chickens, I find the proportions of the small base, round body, and tapered head and tail to be quite pleasing (hence, the long winded post of me bragging about them which is an excuse to post pictures, which is an excuse to take pictures!). I like the heart shape that two chickens create when facing each other.  And they are far better than my neighbors goose statues, since I like to watch my chickens enjoy the sun, get excited about food, take a dust bath, and there's nothing funnier that watching a chicken run.   Running chickens are the least graceful thing I've ever seen!  

Chicken poop on the porch is gross though.  

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