We’re clearing a pasture, including old stalls and a corral, to make way for a new barn. Oh, and the old chicken coop. We’ve lived on this farm for nine years, and this coop has been right in the middle of everything, abandoned and forlorn, ignored for long before we ever moved here. Truth be told, I had no desire to be a chicken farmer, with all of the work and the expense and the mess inherent in the raising of a flock of chickens. Until this past winter. It was like a switch inside of me was flipped, and suddenly I knew I Could. Not. Live. Without. Chickens in the yard. I wanted sweet little hens, fat and colorful, pecking away at bugs in the driveway and on the herbs, having a lovely, privileged life and repaying me with the occasional egg. I already have their names all picked out.
And I still do prefer that fantasy version to what I’ve since learned about raising chickens. I’m now prepared to be a responsible chicken parent. I know what to feed them and how much, I know how take care of “the vent” (gag) and how to recognize and treat the various and sundry chicken diseases. I know that if our black lab Jack will worry a squirrel to death, he’ll do the same to a chicken, so I’m sorry in advance, little chickens, but I’ll have to build a run. But I’m still excited about having my own flock. The old coop was moved to its new home today, closer to the house… but not too close. I’ll spend some time cleaning and painting, and then I’ll be ready for this next chapter. We’ll be a proper farm. With chickens.