I Have A Complicated Relationship With Chickens

My neighbors have chickens. All day, every day, I stare at them and think to myself: man, they have a good life. Especially these chickens. Think about it. A cute little house puts a roof over their heads (I wouldn't be surprised if it was heated). They get fed multiple times a day. They have no stresses, unless you count wild animals, but honestly, they're not wild chickens. They have a fence that protects them, and, in this case, a fence roof too! So they don't even have to worry about dragons or eagles. They spend their days pecking away at the dirt, and digging holes to try to escape from out of their fence. 

In the mornings, I listen to them cackle after they've laid eggs, and sometimes when they escape into my yard, I get some exercise chasing them around, and some amusement at watching them freak out. (Chickens are really dumb).

When I was a kid we had a lot of chickens. Like 30, though a little book I made in elementary school says we had 50. I don't know who to trust, my book or my mom. I was the best chicken catcher in the family. Case in point: 

 This is me (in blue) and my brother Gary (in red). At this point in my life, I was only slightly larger than the chickens. They probably thought I was a chicken too.

This is me (in blue) and my brother Gary (in red). At this point in my life, I was only slightly larger than the chickens. They probably thought I was a chicken too.

I used to collect the eggs, after chasing all of the birds out of the coop. One day, there was a big ugly old rooster who refused to leave, so I was just like "whatever" and ducked under the roost to get the eggs. When I turned around, basket full and ready to leave, he was just sitting on the roost, staring at me. 

I glared back for a moment, and then ducked under the roost to leave. This is when I learned my lesson: DO NOT EVER DUCK UNDER AN UGLY OLD YELLOW ROOSTER.

He jumped on my head. Claws in all. I was probably not older than 10, so I screamed and ran (though to be fair, I think even an adult would have screamed if a rooster had dug its claws into their skull). I threw the eggs. My parents were not pleased with the rooster's behavior.

I'm pretty sure we ate that rooster.

  This is the coop. My parents use it for ducks now. It used to have a swinging door on it; now the ramp flips up into the door.

This is the coop. My parents use it for ducks now. It used to have a swinging door on it; now the ramp flips up into the door.

A second incident occurred a few years later when I was a teenager. We only had 5 hens and 1 rooster at this point, all black and living in a small pen near the house. My chore was simply to get the eggs. But the rooster had gotten it in his head to guard the hen house, so I was having a heck of a time getting anywhere near it as he chased me every time I tried.

Then, my shoe got stuck in the mud. I started hopping around the little house on one foot with an angry rooster chasing me. Then, as I came around the other side, I grabbed the door of the house swung it back, hitting him squarely in the face. 

He was stunned, and stumbled into the back yard while I rapidly grabbed the eggs and my shoe and exited the fence as quickly as I could. Hilarious, I might add. The whole thing. I love telling that story, even if no one else is particularly interested, mostly because I won and the rooster did not. Triumph over the poultry!

My relationships with other forms of poultry have not been nearly as eventful. Mr. Goose was a dearly beloved animal. My dad had a variety of beautiful pigeons (King Featherfoot, Skye, and Blackie, to name a few). We had peacocks and turkeys, and now my parents have ducks.

 

 Mr. Goose, the best Toulouse goose in the universe.

Mr. Goose, the best Toulouse goose in the universe.

 Two peahens with a peachick.

Two peahens with a peachick.

 My mom's very cute and very needy ducks.

My mom's very cute and very needy ducks.

 Charles the cat and George the peacock discussing the stock market.

Charles the cat and George the peacock discussing the stock market.

And now I sit in my condo, and watch my neighbors chickens, and think to myself: I'd like to get chickens. Or ducks. Or peacocks. 

One day, I will.

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