Don’t tell me that chickens don’t have personalities. They do. And those personalities can suck.
First, rather than thanking you for feeding them, giving them water, cleaning up after them (because no one has ever bred poultry to use plumbing, for some reason), they run around their box like a Roomba running amuck whenever you pull back the wire.
Then, after you go to the trouble of cleaning out their water and food once an hour, pretty much all day, one jerk (*cough* Wonderwing *cough*) decides it makes perfect sense to kick backwards at their wood shavings with such force and rapidity that all that detritus completely fills up the water dish and soaks up the water. Wonderwing, of course, is also the one who stirs up trouble, to our surprise. We assumed Kylo Hen would remain the bully of the box, but no. When Kylo Hen and Hobbes are brooding quietly in the corner, almost asleep, Wonderwing’s the one who comes over and pokes and cheeps at them repeatedly.
But you can’t just let them wage their own Hunger Games out there by ignoring the constant cleaning and watering. I mean, you could, but that wouldn’t end well for anyone.
Chickens are the mother of invention. I found a sturdy rectangular cardboard box that a keyboard came in; it was just the right length to fit snugly into the chicken box to create a platform for food and water.
This morning, I found all three chickens standing on the platform like G-rated velociraptors with both the food and water dispensers tipped over into the straw. Apparently we’re raising teenagers now.
Even so, I love the little fuzzballs. “Live, damn you, live and thrive.” They may be jerk chickens, but they’re our jerk chickens.
I think parents of teenagers probably feel the same way.
Is this what life will be like when P hits thirteen? Squawking, wood-shavings and water everywhere, fleeing from attempts at affection? Yelling and stalling and avoiding distance learning assignments? Herding a six year old is a lot like tending to three crazed chicks, but at least the chicks are (usually) confined to a box.
Also, just like P, the chicks are growing up way too quickly. They’ve tripled in size in about a month, and are soon ready to be cooped up for more room. “Stay small and fuzzy so I can cuddle you,” I say. “You too,” I add to Wonderwing, Hobbes, and Kylo Hen.
Now excuse me; I have to go clean out their water and food again. And P needs a snack.