So the twelve chicks…I’m sorry, what? You thought I had six? I told you about chicken math and Tom had to go back to the Rural King for something and they still had chicks, and pretty soon we were driving back to the house with another box of peeping fluff. There isn’t a 12 Step program for this, I’ve already checked. Anyway, the twelve chicks settled happily into their brooder box in the garage. I checked on them roughly every 12 seconds for a while and then finally relaxed and only checked on them every 10 minutes or so. I would go bounding down the stairs to the foyer, where the entry to the garage is, and I’d hear Tom yell from the kitchen, “THEY’RE FINE!” To which I’d reply “I know! Just checking!!” Because, you never know what kind of trouble twelve chicks can get into when left to their own devices in a stock watering tub turned chicken brooder. On one of my check the chick trips, I found post-it notes stuck all over the inside of the brooder on which chicken revolution messages had been scrawled by my 21-year-old son. There were hand drawn chicks wearing machine guns and messages about overthrowing the humans. The chicks were sitting around just looking innocently at each other and at me and I knew he’d put them up to the whole thing.
It also seems that chicks have a hobby of putting pine shavings in their food and water. I started with it on the floor of the brooder box. Nice clean feeder, Nice clean waterer. I came back to six feet of shavings in each. Okay…not six feet, but there were LOTS of shavings floating around.
This went on for several days until someone online suggested putting the watering device on a block of wood. Genius. So I put the waterer on a block of wood and somehow it STILL managed to look like they were soaking the pine chips to whip up a batch of homemade paper. So I just resigned myself to changing water several times a day and making sure the feeder was cleaned out so that no one got a sliver in their beak.
The chicks grew….and grew….and grew….and soon the brooder looked like a mosh pit at a grunge concert. One of the chicks, a particularly sassy barred rock and questionable rooster, found a new hobby of waiting until all the others were settled in a chick pile at the other end of the coop and then ran as fast as his scaly legs would carry him and then would LEAP into the chick pile. This was not well received by the other chicks and there was quite a bit of annoyed peeping and scurrying about while the barred rock chick sort of stood around and seemingly enjoyed what it had done. I knew I had to get them out of that brooder and SOON before the barred rock chick drove the rest insane with treating them like a pile of autumn leaves.
So we went to look at coops. Apparently, there are quite a few people out there interested in this hobby, because SAM’S CLUB had a chicken coop…much too small, but who knew? We checked several places and all of them wanted too much money and the chickens would have been far too crowded and I’ve heard bad things happen when you squish chickens into small places. So back to the drawing board…or rather the backyard, where I had the perfect coop under my nose the whole time.
Behind our detached garage, are two storage sheds…the kind you find at farm supply stores and that so many people have in their backyard for lawnmowers and things. Both were filled with stuff that we were “going to get to” that we’d placed in the sheds when we moved onto the property (read as: junk we probably don’t need). We decided that one would be a great coop and my son moved all of the stuff in that shed to the other shed…which now can’t be opened without setting off an avalanche warning prior to opening the doors. We cleaned up the coop-to-be and figured out where the yard would be and it was all terribly exciting…well, I was excited. My husband and son were a bit more skeptical because they were the ones who were going to have to build all the stuff I wanted on the inside. I had GRAND ideas. This was going to be not just a chicken coop, but a really decked out chicken coop with artwork and curtains and chicken ladders, and cool nest boxes! I started shopping for a chandelier online because I figured that these were classy chickens and they needed a classy place to hang out. When I asked my husband about hanging a chandelier in the chicken coop, his reply was “Hang a WHAT in the chicken coop?” It was going to take some convincing apparently.
So we had the weekend all set aside for COOPMANIA. My husband then landed in the hospital with heart issues which was truly frightening…not only because it was his heart, but because all I could imagine were those chicks in that brooder box getting bigger and bigger and bigger and I imagined that one day I’d go out there and all of their heads would be sticking out of the hardware cloth top on the brooder box and they’d have murder in their eyes because the little barred rock chick had pushed them over the edge.
Fortunately, my husband did well with his heart issues and I never had to deal with murderous chicks. The barred rock settled down a little bit and stopped using the others as a trampoline and soon my husband was home from the hospital and all was in order…except apparently my priorities which became clear when I asked when we could work on the coop.
I couldn’t help it…the revolution posters, the crowded conditions, the rapid growth…it was all ripe for a Chickpocalypse.