Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Chickens and Writing
How many of you have ever correlated writing with chickens? Well, I’ve discovered that having and housing chickens is a lot like writing your first novel. First there is a desire that grows until you decide to take action. You investigate the types of chickens and what you would like to end up with. As an example, you could choose a breed that will be showy pets, or meat producers, egg layers or a multi-purpose breed. Next, you look at plans and pictures of housing facilities (coops) that have been built before you. An idea of what you would like gets mulled around in your mind until you are satisfied you will end up with something that will be of use.
Now you build your frame work. This seems to go up rather quickly and as you sit back and admire your work you think that this could be easier than you thought. Confidence builds. You start enclosing the coop and paying attention to details like nesting boxes, a feeding station, water, window and lights, the human door and the access door for the chickens to go in and out to their run. Whew, that was work, and it takes longer than you think, but you still have the determination and confidence that you can do this . . . yes you can, so you move on to the next step. The chicken run. The first run contains the chickens, and all is well. You even planned ahead and made sure the neighborhood fox couldn’t dig under the fence by using large timbers to line around the bottom of the run. That was easier than you thought it would be, you are almost done. Finally, or so you think, you take the last step, purchase chickens and bring them home. All is well, the chickens are happy, you are happy, and even your husband is happy because he loves the fresh eggs. Life is good.
Now for a more painful phase, the learning phase. The chicken run was built to keep the chickens in and the fox out, and that works. The run was even built near the house in a treed area giving cover from prying, or should I say, preying eyes above. That also works, at least for the first year. The second winter brings in a hunter from above, a hawk. The hawk had a very tasty last meal and that took care of that.
Now things are going along without much change and you feel the need to expand, learn and even create. You know what that means? That’s right, hatching chicks. It gives you some much needed enthusiasm for the never ending and mundane chores you have to do, the cleaning, feeding, watering. It all gets a little easier as you expectantly wait for some new additions to the flock. Then the little peepers start popping out one by one. They are adorable, you smile as you watch them run around mimicking mom. You have to take in some sadness as you learn that not all of the eggs hatch, and you lose a chick or two for some unknown reason, but all in all things go well, until . . . those tiny little chicks decide it is time to go exploring and the holes in the chicken wire are too large to keep in such tiny creatures. The fox was pretty much dissuaded from hunting here, but the distress calls from little peepers that could find their way out, but not their way in, was just too enticing. Now that there are distress signals, it also brings in magpies. Time to go back to work and build a better chicken run. Maybe the second time around you will get it right. Maybe not. Maybe there will be other bumps in the road. Only time will tell how determined you really are to make all of this work.