As happy as I am to see Spring arrive, I know 4 ladies who may be even more excited. I took this picture of my chickens last week on their first excursion of the year. After ensuring that my neighbors’ dogs were nowhere to be found, we let our hens out of their coop to peck around the yard for an hour or so. They were so happy that I was entranced watching them. I spent the entire hour sitting in a chair and smiling as I watched them scratch and follow each other around the yard.
I want to put in a plug for chickens as pets. I LOVE my birds. Best pets I’ve had. Many towns (including Neenah!) allow you to keep chickens. They take very little work, even in the winter. You have to admire tiny animals who are able to weather our Wisconsin winters with no more protection than a small shed full of hay and their own poo. Somehow, I relate to these birds. First of all, they are the only other females in the family. Between my hubby, my sons, my boy cats (well, “boy” cats), and a fish of questionable gender, I was ready for some female companionship. You wouldn’t think chickens would fulfill my need for female companionship. But, they do. Chickens literally put all their energy into producing the next generation. All they do is lay eggs and sit on them. That’s their mission in life. They eat, but only to get enough energy to lay eggs. They peck you if you try to take their eggs. I respect that. Chickens are also hilarious (one of the traits I look for in a girlfriend). Have you ever watched a chicken hold her head high as she scratches around in dry leaves? Hilarious. Or watched them chase mosquitos in the air? Hilarious. It almost makes you look forward to Lakefly season.
My boys love their chickens too. All the artwork they bring home from school manages to incorporate our chickens. We have a lot of drawings, paintings, and collages featuring chickens. I wonder what their teachers think? Solon had an assignment where he had to decorate a T-shirt with drawings of his most prize possessions. Right next to his renditions of his family and his house was a sketch of a taco and a drawing of a chicken. That’s my boy. The first thing Solon does when he gets home from school is check on the chickens to see if they need water. Gage is something of a chicken-whisperer. When the girls wander off into the neighbor’s yard, Gage can always corral them back to the coop. If I go after them, they scatter in all 4 directions. If Gage goes after them, they calmly come back to our yard. Go figure.
So, go get yourself some chickens. You won’t be sorry. Or come visit mine. We can have a cold beer and watch the girls scratch leaves. There’s nothing like female companionship.