My niece has decided the chooks may stay with me as they are happy here. “We’ve bonded,” I told her. I’m not entirely sure how this happened. Looking back at my earlier posts, I noted that I found them slightly sinister, messy, and sometimes gross. I also felt responsible for their welfare.
They have caused all sorts of mayhem, digging holes in the garden, stripping tomatoes from a plant, pooping on the door mat and outdoor furniture, and digging up a planter. Was there room in my small garden for these fowl?
I wondered how long it would take till they’d wrecked the whole garden, but found there were some benefits. They have worked some patches of soil to a fine tilth, great for new planting as long as I can protect the plants. Despite their little brains, the chooks are able to comprehend tone of voice, particularly when I express disapproval! I can have a lunch plate composed of garden produce – and home-made bread. It seems there is room for us all.
They often peck on the windows when they see us inside, occupy the back door mat, and wander inside if the door is left open. Maybe this is endearing. A couple of eggs a day helps. Watching them puts you in the present moment, a distraction from the ‘interesting times’ we are living in. Their care structures the day, that’s for sure: giving them kale leaves in the morning, a fresh bowl of mash and fresh water, cleaning out the nesting box, checking they have enough oyster grit, picking up poop, swabbing the deck after they’ve been let out in the afternoon (it seems cruel to leave them in the enclosure all day), filling in holes they’ve dug, putting up more barricades to keep them out of the vegetable plots, and saving some corn cobs from our dinner as a treat before they take themselves off to bed.
Today, I put a pea straw bale in their enclosure. They now have quite a living room.