As I visit my parents, who live on a 30 some acre homestead in rural Virginia, complete with a centuries old family cemetery in their front yard, I have to tell you that I have a serious case of Envy. Today, I am going to tell you about how I am stricken by one of the most virulent strains: Chicken Envy.
My parents have kept chickens since my little brother's 7th grade science class hatched them and they needed homes. My brother, Garrett, (incidentally, the same brother who climbs tall internet towers as mentioned above) has been hooked ever since, and there have only been a few short periods of ChickenLessNess for them when foxes or racoons or bobcats or other predators would enjoy a feast and we'd have to wait for the next batch to arrive via air mail, or be picked up from the local chicken auction. If you've never been to a Chicken Auction, I recommend it highly. Especially the one Garrett took Joey too last winter. It was evidently hilarious!
|watching the chickens through they're bobcat proof fence|
But now, Joey and I are stuck in a city that doesn't allow chickens, and as much as I would have told you I hated them growing up, I miss them terribly now. And visiting my parents' made me miss them even more! Of course, we would be happy to slaughter the roosters, in part because living in a city that doesn't allow them means that roosters would make our illegal roost quite noticeable, also because they're delicious, and finally so they don't chase our cars. Being chased in your car by a rooster is not a fun experience!
For almost my entire life, Garrett's Chickens were seriously free-range. The chasing of cars was a daily event not because they'd gotten loose, but because they were loose. I remember my father chastising Garrett about his lack of Coop-ablity, but then I also remember Dad scattering feed over the entire backyard for them. They were free to go where they wanted, and had a safe, comfortable place to roost at night (often including a nightlight and heater to keep them laying all winter). BUT, when my parents moved to their current location, and my brother joined them, it became obvious that these loosey goosey Chickens were not a possibility. They lost chicken after chicken after chicken to the various wild animals, and one time even to human thieves who drove up the driveway during the middle of the day and took all 10 chickens of roasting age! So, my father helped Garrett build a more secure coop and yard, and it is just amazing the difference! Honestly, I don't think my teenage vegetarian girly girl would even object to this! It's quite pristine and adorable! And they even have a Calico Rooster!