Monday, July 15, 2013

The Way of the Chicken

My parents are very law-abiding people. However, when it comes to chickens their moral fiber turns a bit soluble. The flock has grown to illegal proportions and shows no signs of decreasing.

On Saturday I was shown The Way of the Chicken by my dad as part of my house-sitting duties. We all know I don't get along with chickens, but I felt like I could give it another shot for my parents. They seem to really like these chickens as they keep adding more of the stinky buggers. Anyway, as Dad described it, chicken care seemed fairly straightforward. Water, feed, lock them in coop for the night, let them out in the morning. Repeat for a week as my parents bask on the deck of an Alaskan cruise ship.

On Sunday I woke up with a start to the incessant and uproarious bawking of the massive flock. They also woke my baby sleeping by the window, but I left her crying, threw some clothes on, and dashed out to the backyard. In the midst of putting three kids to bed, I had forgotten all about locking the chickens up the night before and making sure they were fed and watered. Thoughts of wild animals attacking the coop, starving chickens collapsing, and angry neighbors phoning to complain about the noise all ran through my mind. I made it up to the chicken pen, threw open the gate, and....nothing. The chickens magically stopped their fiendish racket and wandered around idyllically scratching in the dirt. I checked their coop. Nothing. I checked their food and water. Full. Annoyed, I threw some grain on the ground for them so I could feel like I had done something. They dutifully ignored it and went back to their chicken business. Apparently they simply desire a human presence at 6 in the morning.*

I wearily went back inside and surveyed my new black flip-flops coated in chicken leavings, thinking about how much cheaper and easier buying free-range chicken, organic, non-muck coated eggs from the store would be then running this chicken coop. Raising your own chickens should be placed in the same category as wearing Spandex, posting about bathroom trips on Facebook, and throwing fruit into green smoothies without peeling it. I call this category, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

*I later confirmed this with my little brother Joseph.


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