Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Chicken Massacre of May 2012


“Time heals all things, except crow’s feet.”

This quote refers to wrinkles around the eyes and that time only makes them worse. But, for everything else, time is the great healer. I agree.
For example, it has taken me over a week before I could sit and peck out what happened that day. Before I tell this story, let’s start with my disclaimer: I am human and make mistakes.
Now we can move on.
The Gate my husband built
Coming home from work last Monday, I visited the Cape Cod Coop to toss in some food scraps. I carefully locked the gate then struggled to hook the special latch into the gate handle. We put it there for extra protection after we realized that the Weiner Sisters were able to jump on the gate and jimmy it open. Crafty little Wiener dogs!  I tossed the garbage-food (which Suzette and Junior immediately feasted) on their large dirt plate. Then, I went about my business … picking up kids, running errands and then  home.  Daniel ran out to the coop to check for eggs. From outside he yelled for me.
“What?”  I answered.
“Just come out here, you won’t believe it!” I didn’t budge, but shouted back “What is it? Just tell me.”

“No, just you come here,” he insisted.
Hmmm. This must be serious.  I headed to the backyard.
Goldie with some leftovers
And there was Daniel standing amongst a bed of feathers (think ripped-open feather pillow fight) and pieces of our beloved Suzette and Junior strewn across the lawn. Both hens were goners and just like Mr. Potato Head, their body parts disconnected and placed somewhere else. However, unlike Mr. Potato Head, this was not fun. Daniel was devastated. I was shocked.

Lucas arrived to the scene of the crime. After a short debate, he put on gloves and placed the Suzette and Junior pieces into a bag. He has been dissecting all sorts of animals in Biology, so he was the best candidate for the disgusting  job.
We scratched our aching heads and wondered, what happened? At first, we were not sure, other than Suzette and Junior escaped and the Weiner Sisters gobbled up another fresh-chicken snack for two. Upon further investigation, we discovered that the gate wasn’t properly closed and that was the catalyst for the Chicken Massacre of May 2012.

All. My. Fault.
Daniel was so angry he announced I was no longer allowed in the coop without another person (like a chicken chaperon). Then he stomped off to grieve and left me feeling like a candidate for The Worst Mother of the Year Award.

Immediately, I cancelled my appointment (that I was already very late for) and drove the kids out to the Santa Paula Feed store to buy replacement hens. Truly, I didn’t know what else to do.
At the Feed store, we picked up three red hens and this big beautiful-black-and-white-striped hen. Once home and out of the box it was clear that one red hen was carsick. We named her Barfy. She did not look well.
Our "replacement" hens
By day two, we realized Barfy was not just car sick, but sick-sick. We started antibiotics (I am not kidding).

I called the feed store and was told that if she was not well in three days, we could exchange her (they are the Nordstroms of Feed Stores!). There was another thing we realized as the days moved on. The big-black-and-white hen, we called Plymouth, was mean. So dominating and so rough! She would jump on the other hens and tug the feathers on their neck.
Plymouth the Rooster, not hen!
Last Saturday when we went to return Barfy for a non-sick hen, guess what?  We found out that Plymouth is a rooster! A non-cock-a-doodle-dooing-very-horny rooster!  I shouldn't have been surprised after all the bad-chicken luck we've had.

We must be gluttons for punishment because at the feed store we also bought a tiny chicken we named Roadrunner that appears to be wearing furry boots. Very cute little creature!

Over a week has passed since THAT horrible day. Eggs are dropping, and who knows chicks may be hatching. The only thing I 'm sure of is that the crow’s feet around my eyes definitely grew the day of the Chicken Massacre of May 2012.

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