Thursday, August 23, 2012


"I think maybe the chickens are finally laying eggs!"

New little peep!
We've had these chickens since mid-spring, when they arrived via U.S. Mail, tiny balls of yellow peeping fluff delivered in a cardboard box.  Ben's flock of Rhode Island Reds had long been extinct, save one precious pet who eluded the foxes and raccoons and who we liked too much to convert to stew.  This spring, I decided to order my very own flock of chickens, and Ben has been teaching me the ins and outs of chicken farming.

Buff Orpingtons.  They are simply beautiful.  So fluffy that they look like they are wearing frilly bloomers.  And they are congenial - even the roosters are pleasant.

But these are the stupidest chickens I have ever met.  They don't put themselves to bed at night until after dark, when the owls are already out hunting dinner.  They startle and run at the silliest things.  They have an entire hayfield in which to graze...but they prefer to strip the rose bushes of all their petals.

Gorgeous George

 The roosters try to put on an air of manliness on occasion - but give one a stern look and he'll trot off to hide under the chicken house.  No, they're not very smart or very brave - but, man, are they good looking.  Reuben has dubbed the fanciest rooster "Gorgeous George"  - all glam and no substance.  The other rooster, we call Larry.  Leaning Larry.  Everything about him is kind of "sideways" - his tail, his gait, his stance, his way of looking at you.  Again, definitely not the sharpest tack in the box.

I've been getting very frustrated at tending my extraordinarily stupid chickens - but have persevered in the hopes that they will soon redeem themselves by laying eggs for breakfast.  Apparently, Buff Orpingtons begin to lay later than other breeds....still no eggs.  So, Helen's announcement this morning was the cause of great excitement.  Uproarious cackling - a sure sign of egg production - had me all excited.  I walked outside - no chickens anywhere in the yard.  "Helen, I think you may be right!  I think they've all headed back to the hen house!  Maybe they've decided it's time to lay some eggs!"

(Now, why on earth would I think the idea would occur to my silly chickens to lay eggs in their nesting boxes?  Hmmm?)

It wasn't twenty minutes later that Ben looked out the window and asked, "Mom, why are the chickens all over at Grammy's?"

No, the chickens were not in the hen house laying eggs.  Rather, they had decided today was a lovely day for a road trip.  They had hiked all the way over to Grammy's, for who-knows-what reason.

Errrrrgh!  I ran into the yard and called across the hay field:  "Chick!  Chick!  Chick!  Heeeeeeere, chick, chick!"  Gorgeous George raised his head and looked at me.  The hens perked up and trotted a few steps down Grammy's driveway.  After 20 minutes of calling, I gave up.  All they did was stand at stare at me.

Thankfully, Helen agreed to help round up my wayward flock. By the time we had hiked over to Grammy's, there were no chickens to be seen anywhere.  Not in the yard.  Not in the road back to the cow pasture.  Not in the calf lot.  So we headed out to the barn.  Finally!  I found George and 5 hens chilling out under the tractor.  Where were the other 12?  Nowhere.

I began herding George and his tiny flock across the pasture toward our house.  Herding chickens is about like herding cats - if you want to develop patience, here's a good way to practice!  We reached the tree-line behind our house.  Under the canopy of trees, I found several other hens.  Then, further up the hill, more chickens.  Grrrrr!  "Come on, Chick-chick, back to the hen house!"

The entire flock is now safely back in our yard.  My legs are scratched from crawling through the underbrush, and I'm waiting for the poison ivy and chigger bites on my ankles to start itching.  We still have no fresh eggs.

But, as Helen cheerfully observed, at least I something to blog about!


Anonymous said...

Love your chicken story!! We have 7 and I have to agree, dumber than a box of hair! Really!! Amazing. But I do love them so. They are quite entertaining. And your George is by far the most beautiful rooster I have ever seen!

Hope you get eggs soon!! We got ours a year ago May and they laid their first egg at the end of Aug! They laid all through the winter and are still at it. Love them purty ladies

XO Sue

troal said...

I really am surprised that you didn't wonder aloud whether God is sometimes frustrated with His silly clueless children.

Camille said...

R.B., are you calling me a chicken?!! :)