Got home from work, fed the cats, let the dogs out, walked up (with MCB) to let the horse out, then down the Clone Coop to begin chasing chickens
See, the Clone Coop is where the meat chickens live. They do not mingle with the laying girls.
I’ve never raised meat chickens before, but let me tell you…
they are fucking bizarre.
At 2 days old they looked identical, like, seriously identical, not a single feather was different from the rest.
Then we put them in a hen house with food, water, and a heat lamp.
And they grew.
They did this in a seriously disconcerting way; they basically doubled in size every day.
I hear that sometimes their legs will break because their bodies grow too big too fast and their legs basically give out from under them.
So as a perfect visual aid to a class on Darwinism, we see that these overeating, overweight, overachievers, have developed feet the size of my hand. Their ankles are as thick as mine.
Anyway, they were out of their coop on this lovely October day, sitting.
Because that’s what these birds do; they sit.
And there were 10 0r 11 of them that are TOO FUCKING STUPID to make their way back into the coop. (the other 15 were even more stupid; they hadn’t managed to out how to go outside.)
So MCB runs around the pen with a piece of irrigation pipe, plowing the chickens in my direction. I, when a bird gets close enough, dive onto it’s almost nude little body (these chickens don’t have a lot of feathers), and grab frantically at anything I can grasp onto, often a wing or one of those ginormous feet, then carry the terrified clucker into the house.
Then I went to Team Dinner.
When I got home I realized that I had to go get the eggs from The Girls. I drove there so I could use my headlights to see what I was doing.
This henhouse has a solar timer on the door. The door opens at sunrise to let the girls out for the day, then it closes at sunset to keep them safe and warm. But it seems that we are having issues with the changes in daylight, and tonight, there were 4 of them that got shut out when the door closed for the night.
We have foxes, bears, mountain lions.
Into the coop I went, chasing chickens in a circle, slipping on fresh hay, throwing myself down over and over. It’s dark. It’s cold. I’m wearing real shoes, not workboots.
Finally I caught one.
Then I caught another.
Winded and swearing up a storm, I tucked one under each arm and marched off towards the man-door, to deliver them to their beds.
And then, it happened, warm liquid down my arm, my side, my thigh.
I opened my mouth in shock and while it was open, out came: “I DON’T WANT TO BE A RANCHER.”
I said it again and again. It rattled through my brain while running in circles trying to catch the other two.
It played and replayed while I stood under a million stars.
It was in my head as I made my way back to the house.
Then I said it again, out loud, one final time, just as I realized that I had forgotten the goddamn eggs.