I have become a paranoid (chicken) chicken owner.
Seriously, I am so nervous about moving the new chicks into the coop. Visions of little Violet still haunt me. But I also know that asking anyone (especially my husband) to continue keeping 12 growing chickens in our living room is a bit much.
When you can’t sit on the couch to read because the smell is too strong, you know it’s time.
And yet, I still had trouble. It’s that old pushing the chicks out of the nest thing.
- Will they be able to find good food and water?
- Will they know to go home to a safe place each night?
- Will they be able to defend themselves against bullies?
- Will they be okay?
I realize that big chicken owners laugh at me – “just put the birds into the darn coop!” But I can’t help but hesitate. These chickens are not only my friends but they are under my care. I am their mama hen, if something happens to them, it rests partially on my shoulders.
Which is why we are taking this integration step slowly. Yesterday after spending the day outdoors in their their playpen (it really is a toddle play-yard I got at a yard sale – found out it’s perfect for older chicks) we made the decision to put the playpen in the coop and let the chicks sleep in the big house for the night.
- Make sure they can’t escape.
- Make sure there is no place where they could get caught.
- Make sure they are safe.
“Relax, mom,” two of my sons told me. “They’re chickens. They’re going to be fine.” They laughed at me and at all of my concerns about a bunch of chicks. “Oh, that’s just mom,” they joked with each other.
We moved the pen into the coop, set them up and then we closed the coop door, saying a little prayer for their safety throughout the long night. Several times, I looked out the window to the darkened coop and kept an ear open for any odd sounds – a cry for help – ready to race to my babies.
This morning I came downstairs to find one of my sons already up and getting ready to leave for work.
“The chicks are all there and they’re fine,” he told me. “I’ve already checked.”
No matter how much youthful bravado they might show, clearly the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree in this house.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
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