As some of you may know, we inherited a chicken coop (Casa Huevos) and 3 hens from our friends at Flat Rock Cellars. It was all Dre’s idea. I remember the moment that the words fell from my lips…”I don’t mind having chickens as long as you look after them.” Ah, such fateful words indeed.
I have to admit that I am not 100% sold on the “cuteness” or “quaintness” of our Kardachickens – Kim, Kourtney and Khloe. There is something mildly creepy about their funny bodies — something that I have learned to overcome in the few months that we have had “the girls” with us.
Our chickens were on the loose among the vines for the first several weeks. It was a wonderfully bucolic, heart warming, “Little House on the Prairie” moment to see them scratching about. I had no idea how far these chicks could move. One day I came out of the cooking school to find the three of them scratching about in the herbs (little did they know a hot stove and cleaver lurked a few steps away). And then it started in earnest…our girls took the concept of “free range” to new limits….across Lincoln Ave., up the road 8 houses, into our neighbour’s gardens and into the hearts of at least two canines! It seems these girls were curious and charming. They made friends with Carola and her dog two houses up and would spend glorious sunny days in her garden. Every evening at dusk, the girls would return to the coop to be tucked away for the night (away from the clutches of hawks, coyotes and owls!). Egg production went from 3 or 4 a day to 1 a day as the days shortened and…alas, the flock shrank.
You see no matter how often you tell the girls that danger lurks, they always thought they knew better as the strutted about in their fancy plumage. First Kourtney went missing. She and Kim went out and only one returned. It was a terribly dark, windy and rainy day. I ordered Dre out to find the girls and herd them home. Dre went up and down the property and the neighbours backyards with no luck. Finally, a neighbour 5 doors up arrived with Kim in his daughter’s clutches. We quickly slapped up some fencing – chicken wire of course! and in went Kim. All the while, only Khloe played by the rules and respected the boundaries set for her.
Now I have to say, chickens actually do grow on you. They do have personalities and moods and spunk. Kimberley was soon to show me that! Now with only two birds left, I was certain that the fence was the answer — that and better and more interesting feed as well! The Christmas break arrived and guess who was left looking after the chickens…you guessed it — ME! Daily I would feed the girls, collect the one or two egg offering and arrive back at dusk to…the horror of Kim OUTSIDE the fencing! How was she getting out? With great reluctance I would corner her and pick her up (a major YUK moment for me) and put her back into the coop. I was determined NOT to loose a chicken on my watch.
Boxing Day arrived and so did a distressed call from my neighbour Carola. It seems that Kim (whom they had re-named “Gloria”) was spending some quality time with their dog and kids during the festive season. She had become a family friend over the course of her life at The Good Earth. Help! Help! What was to be done? There was a hawk planted firmly on their veranda with its steely gaze fixed on our chicken! Kim was caught and put into a dog carrier in the garage and returned to the coop. With some help we fortified the fencing, determined to teach Kim a lesson.
Like every Disney nature movie, this has a weepy ending. Last Saturday we headed off to freeze at the Winter WineFest in Jordan. When I returned late that evening I quickly closed up the mini door on the coop and assumed that the two girls were all snug in their straw. The next morning when I opened the door to feed them I realized to my horror that Kim was missing! She had hopped the fence and since no-one was around at dusk she must have just pecked about in the cold (Yes, I have asked hard-heartedly why if she could hop out, she wouldn’t hop back in?!). Just yesterday, Dre made the grizzly discovery. A pile of feathers and some guts — the remnants of someone’s meal and…our Kim!
Moral of the story, you can street proof your chicks all you want but at the end of the day, they have to make some choices.
Now… there is one chicken standing – the timid, obedient one!