We’ve crossed a milestone here at the J&A Chicken Ranch. The chickens spent their first night outside last night. As one friend said, they made their maiden voyage.
Yes dear friends, the little boogers are growing up. They are spreading their wings and getting the heck out of dodge.
You mustn’t ever let J-Dub know I told you, but I do believe he was more worried about them than I was. We stood in their coop, with chickens at our feet, checking their temperature, watching their behavior, plugging up drafts. The temperature was going to drop into the mid thirties. He said he thought they should come in for the night. I questioned him. “Are you worried about them?” He replied, “I’m worried about you.” Sure you are J-Dub, sure you are.
I convinced myself they would be alright. They were predator-proofed, heat-adjusted, fed and watered. I went to bed. But before I could allow my conscience to rest, I googled what age chickens can live outside, just to double-check that they would be okay. Last night, we put 14 chickens to bed. This morning, at 7:00 there were 14 chickens alive and well. Yea!
I am beginning to understand the term chicken however, after watching these birds. They are scaredy-chickens. They would rather stay in their coop and not venture into their chicken yard. Twice today, me and Ashy had to go in and throw them all out of the coop so they could get some outdoor time.
I played hookey from church today (don’t tell the preacher) and enjoyed some time at home this morning. It’s hard to believe that I can waste nearly 3 hours watching chickens and reading magazines, but I can. Although Freedom is black and white like the others, she is a chicken of a different color. She enjoys outside and often is the only one pecking around. I got such a fright today as she began to do something I hadn’t yet witnessed.
Had I not previously read ahead, I would have thought she was spazzing.
She was only taking a dirt bath. Yeah, I know that sounds like an oxymoron. Chickens like to do this. They dig a shallow hole, kick up some dirt, waller around a bit, and get dirty. “They” say it helps keep the bugs and mites off of them. “I” would like to think it cools them off a little too.
Dust baths are where me and chickens relate. Since I’ve been living outside of town, dirt has become my second skin. I have given up trying to look pretty. When I wear makeup, it shortly becomes caked with dirt. It’s in my hair, my eyes, my mouth, my toenails, my belly button.
It’s on my floor, my dressers, my computer, my canisters, my Raisen Bran.
It reminds me of a little saying I’ve heard before, “God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt.”
The chickens don’t need to be reminded of this.
So why should I?