Escape Artist

Now that we live in the country, I thought chickens would be a good addition to our life. After all, who doesn’t want eggs?  My boys can eat a dozen eggs in two days, so chickens would definitely be a good addition to our yard. Right?

Baby chicks are quite easy to care for. After losing one within the first week, we learned to clean their “vent” (the rear-end) daily to prevent any fatal blockages. They lived in a box inside with a heat lamp for the first month or so, but after they learned to escape the box it was time for them to move to the garage. I wasn’t sure if they would really survive Ohio spring – snowing one day, flooding the next and baking by the end. Well – they proved that they are hardy birds and they all survived, and from the garage they should have moved into their chicken coop.

My husband is a city guy. He loves golf, reading and traveling. When it comes to yard work, he somehow designated himself the tractor driver. He gets his hands dirty when necessary, but yard work has never been a favorite activity of his. I do have to give him some credit. We were suburban dwellers for ten years before moving to an 1890’s farmhouse. If there was a leak, we called a plumber. If our carpets were dirty, we had them cleaned. When the roof needed repaired, we called a company. When a tree needed to be cut down, we called a tree service. So what were we going to do in an 1890’s farmhouse that needed a total renovation – inside and out? My city loving husband said “we can do this.” And…he did. He watched videos on YouTube for every project. The man that rarely lifted a hammer in the suburbs tore up tile, refinished floors, rerouted plumbing, installed a water softener, new cabinets, sink and dishwasher and when the basement flooded, he rented a jackhammer and installed a sump pump. I’m not sure who this man is, but he has been great to have around.

When I brought home chickens, my husband did not buy a chicken coop, but decided he should build the Taj Mahal of chicken coops. This coop is taking much longer than I anticipated, and my husband will be the first to tell you that it is no longer a fun project. Everyday the chickens run the yard and before dark we run around trying to catch them and lock them in the almost there chicken coop.

Last night, like every other night, my husband and I were outside chasing chickens. My husband or my daughter make some noise to startle them, I lay out raisins or feed, and they walk right up to me. Then the scooping begins. Slowly I get my hand just out of their sight, and SWOOP! Seven times I swoop, and one by one put them in the almost done chicken coop. Last night we only got six. Six? A little panic set in…we have seven chickens. We looked in all their hiding places and couldn’t find the lost chicken. As we were cleaning up the yard a bit, I told my husband I knew we were going to lose some, but I feel so sad. Where could it be? It’s probably scared or dead. We have a fox family up the street. Did it get the chicken? Was it our cat? Where are the feathers? Where is the evidence of the event? Nothing! We found nothing! I went to bed thinking that just stinks!

This morning when I came down for coffee my husband says, “We have an escape artist.” I didn’t sleep well and I hadn’t even had my first sip of coffee, so I really had no idea what he was talking about. My face probably gave that away because he said, “The chicken. It’s back.” We have no idea were it went or how it got back, but it was home and in the almost done coop this morning.chicken9

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it’s back, but I feel like I mourned the loss of a chicken only for it to return. I was saddened by the disappearance, confused and concerned. That one better be the best egg layer we have. It now owes me! But if it keeps up with these shenanigans, we will have chicken soup!

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