Saturday, August 31, 2013

Coming home to roost

I have a lot to learn about chickens. And dogs. And not mixing chickens and dogs.

The boys and I brought home our first two chickens yesterday. We drove out to Pittsboro to Hickory Chickery and purchased two Buff Orpington pullets. They are about four months old, but aren't laying yet. However, they are both most definitely hens, and that's what I wanted to start with since we can't have roosters in the city limits. And I don't want roosters. Even though they are gorgeous.

I digress.

Even with trying to keep the chicken cost down as much as possible, I still ended up buying a little carrier to bring them home. I was going to just use a box or a laundry basket, but since we are going to get some chicks in a month or so, I went ahead and bought a small crate.

I think they were pretty cozy.

Meet Mrs. Weasly and Professor McGonagall
Let me stop here and say, I have the nicest dogs. Two of them are bird dogs, granted, but they are old and incredibly sweet. The third is little and a feisty when it comes to squirrels, so I was planning on keeping a good eye on her. But the others? They are such nice dogs.

Nice dogs eat chickens too.

I brought the chickens through the house and let Gibby, the Lab, and Macy, the little dog, sniff and say hello. They wagged their tails and completely fooled me into thinking that they happy to have new friends.

We ventured out into the backyard, and I let the girls out, sending Gibby into some kind of primal hunting dog frenzy. Poor Mrs. Weasly became the target, and Gibby was going to have chicken for dinner. 

Macy Moo and I joined in the chase, Macy just to have fun, and me, screaming, "NO! GIBBY! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I caught up to him just as he got a half a mouthful of feathers. Nearly tackling him, I grabbed his collar and started dragging him to the backdoor, yelling to Christopher to go get Macy Moo away from poor Mrs. Weasly.

On the deck, Macy had chased Mrs. Weasly into a corner, and Gibby had slipped out of his collar right at the back door. I managed to scoop Macy up with one hand and tuck her under my arm. Then, with my knees and my body, I corralled Gibby inside while issuing the dreaded, "Bad Boy. Bad Boy, Gibby."

I gently picked up Mrs. Weasly from the corner of the deck, where she was willing herself to be way smaller so she could fit through the railings. We sat down together, and I checked her for any wounds (there were none) while I sang her one of my boys' lullabies. 

Then, we went to the back corner of the yard where Professor McGonagall had her head shoved through the chain link fence, simultaneously delighted that she wasn't being chased by a 100 pound dog and horrified that she had been brought to such a savage new home. 

She's still kind of pissed at me.

Other than that, they are settling in nicely. We will have to split backyard time instead of having the Utopian dog and chicken playground that I made up in my ridiculous head. But that's alright. I finally have my chickens, and I already love them.

Because, let's face it, I'm more than a little bit crazy.

Mrs. Weasly after a soothing lullaby.
Professor McGonagall snuggling in right on top.