Thursday, June 18, 2009

The insanity of the Chicken Transportation Unit

Do you ever do something day after day without thinking about what you're doing and just assume what you're doing is normal? Then one day you stop and actually LOOK at what you're doing and realize how insane you'd look to someone else? This is a very true statement for me, especially with my Chicken Transportation Unit.

Right now the hens live in a coop. You all remember the coop, right? Insanely bright teal and white number that was built by my mom's generous employees just so that I could have chickens. And you remember the hoop-run that my mom and I made using our Womanly Powers of Construction with power tools and whatnot??

Have you ever wondered how the chickens get from the coop to the portable chicken run?


Do you wonder now?

Okay, good.

Well let me clue you in to my insanity. Every morning after breakfast I trek out into the already-humid-and-so-hot-that-your-hair-sticks-to-your-face backyard and say good morning to the girls. They hear me clomping over to them so they wait at the door of their coop for their driver.

I open the coop door and pick up each hen and place her into the large tupperware container that used to be their brooder box when they were hatchlings. It's filled with a layer of pine shavings and has a makeshift wire "roof." Clementine loves to be held and walks right up to me to be picked up. Maggie loves the chase and waits patiently for her turn to be picked up. As soon as I grab for her she BA-GAWK's as loud as she can and scurries around in circles. When I catch her, she continues to kick me with the hopes of scratching one of my fingers off. It's delightful. Then it's Sookie's turn. Like Maggie, she enjoys the chase, but instead of running around in circles, she merely ducks down and bobs and weaves without really going anywhere. Thankfully when I catch her she is quite content to be held and rarely puts up a fight. Here is Maggie charging the camera lens on one of her escape attempts.

Then I have all three chickens sitting in a box on a Little Red Wagon. Like a big goober, I then grab the handle of the wagon and pull the whole contraption across the yard to wherever the hoop-run happens to be sitting that day. The boys help me about once a week, but the other 13 times a week, it's all me.

We try to move the hoop-run around the yard every 3 days or so. This gives them fresh grass to graze on and stops the run-area from getting stinky from chicken poo. I get to the hoop run and open the door and then pick up the entire tupperware box and place it in the opening. I lean it over toward the run and open up the lid and give it a little shake. Clementine always hops out daintily and proceeds into the back of the run. Sookie always hops out with a mess of feathers and squawking and dashes to the back of the run. Maggie always flaps and flies with such mad abandon that she always knocks over the food container. Always.

Yesterday was even more special. We had workers in the yard digging a drain and they were quite amused with the odd blonde chick walking along with a red-wagon full of chickens. When I got to the run and lifted up the roof of the box, Sookie made a run for it. She veered off left and ended up in some trees. I then ended up crawling through spiderwebs and bushes calling her name, all the while hoping Maggie and Clementine didn't make a break for it since I had left the door to the run open to shoo Sookie back inside. It was awesome having an audience during this experience.

In the evening after I put my boys to bed, I repeat this ritual, walking out to the run, gathering up all three chickens into the box in the little red wagon, trekking across the yard to the coop and unloading them into the coop. And this was all seeming so normal to me.

Until yesterday...

...when I thought to myself….who DOES this?


Melissa said...

Too funny! The crazy things we do! I've been spending my precious time trying to train our 3 bunnies to willingly go into their carry crate. (I cart them back and forth from their small hutch to our screened porch each day so they have a bigger hop around space.) Like I have nothing else to do!

Jeff Vandiver said...

very funny, kate!

Erin said...

That is hilarious! Does your dog have any herding instinct? I am hopeful that my Australian Shepherd will do the trick for me once I get my chickens, she had chickens and geese at her "foster home" before we rescued her and she did pretty well with them...hopefully with some training she can take care of the "crossing guard" duties, LOL! My other dog will have to watch from inside though...she is an Aussie mixed with a Jack Russell, so her instinct is to track and terrorize!! Love the pic of the kids & chicken wagon

Dani said...

I wish we lived closer to each other! It would be so nice having friends with chickens. Then we could all just be weird and crazy together. :)

Ribbit said...

Way too funny! Someone let chickens out in our school for a senior prank. I got to watch two admins. run around after them. The students had attached notes to collars on their necks. The notes read 1, 2 and 4. They spent all day looking for chicken number 3. There was never a chicken number 3!

Kelly said...

Thanks for another great story Kate, what a good chicken Mamma you are!

Ribbit- that is too funny. 8)

berrypatch said...

Oh my! ;-) Our pullets aren't quite old enough to be out in their tractor yet so one day this week we brought them out to play for the day. Then had to bring them back inside. I did it that once. Then I decided they could just stay inside until they are ready to be out for good. Ugh.

Sue said...

This was hilarious. You can bet it made those guys' day.....and gave them a funny story to tell as well.
Thanks for the chuckle!

CJ said...

That's so funny. Super funny.

So. If you plan to tractor your chickens, you really ought to have a coop attached to the run and move the whole kit and caboodle.

If you have a super nice coop, like yours, just make them a pen attached to it, and clean it out periodically.

Anonymous said...

I put my 6 chickens in a pet carrier when they were still in the brooder at night.Now they are in a shed with a temp fencing around it. I need to move them around the yard. I would love to just let them run the yard, but we have hawks. There must be an easier way to transport them around the yard!

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