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Chicken Duty

January 24, 2010

Thursday, January 21:
I have to go to work early, and since the chickens didn't like it yesterday morning when I woke them up at 6:30 a.m., I asked Jay to do "Chicken Duty" (scoop poop, open the door to the outside coop, and give out the daily scratch grains) for the day. This way, they could get up at 7:30 a.m. - the time that they're accustomed to.
Thursday night's conversation went like this:
J - "Oh, and don't EVER set me up like THAT again!!"
Me - "What in the world are you talking about????"
J - "The Chickens. You sent me out there with no treats and they were really mad".
Me - "Scratch grains were their treats".
J - "No, they need REAL treats. That's not fair."
Me - "They only get 'special' treats every other day. Today wasn't the day. They're fine."
J- "No, you don't understand. I go in and open the door to the outside coop. They come running out and just look at me. Then they run back in, then they run back out and they give me that look."
Me - (trying to not laugh) "What look?"
J - "You know....that 'my mother gives me treats why don't you' look. No, I'm not doing chicken duty without treats."
Me - "You're crazy."

Friday, January 22:
I asked Jay to do chicken duty since he was home (waiting for the carpet guys). I promised him I'd leave him dandelion greens. He agreed.
He reported this evening that things went MUCH better and everyone was happy with him.
I still think he's crazy.
Saturday, January 23:
My turn for chicken duty. I've got no special "treats" because this is the off day.
Guess what?
They were fine with it. No dirty looks or anything. They came out, looked around, and started eating scratch grains.
Sunday, January 24:
I stepped out of the house at 8:10 a.m. and heard the "chicken band" in the distance.
This was not going to be a good morning.
The "chicken band" is Kessa getting the rest of them all riled up and chanting to be let out.
It goes like this: bawk, bawk bawk, BAWWWKKKK, bawk bawk, BAWWWKKKK. In the background are others chanting: cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck.
Oh boy, I thought. Here we go.
As I approached the coop I looked in the first window. There were all the Plymouth Barred Rocks standing on the nesting boxes (minus Clyde - he's still de-throned). The band was getting louder.
I wave the "treat" container of cottage cheese in front of the window. The noise quieted.
I thought, I might have a chance of this ending well.
You should never feel to sure of yourself when trying to deal with chickens.
I threw the scratch grains out around the outdoor coop, set the containers of cottage cheese down and opened the door to the inside coop.
Chickens are usually bursting thru the opening and I'm getting nothing.
I peer inside and see that the "poop scooping" rake is already laying on the floor. That's not good. Then there's poor Clyde, pacing back and forth like a new father. He's upset because the girls are still on the nesting boxes and can't get down.
We built the nesting boxes with slanted roofs so they wouldn't roost up there.
Yeah, right.
Chickens don't follow rules. They do as they please. (I often tell Cait, who also does as she pleases, that perhaps she's part chicken.)

You can see in the above photo how enticing the top of the nesting boxes are, with the window right there.
All of a sudden I hear crashing and squawking and feathers are flying.
Three girls made it down.
Out came the 3 with nervous-Nelly Clyde in tow.
I went inside to assist the others, which really put them in a bad mood. I got scolded for trying, but they got down and were able to eat the cottage cheese.
I went out later to make peace with some freeze-dried meal worms.
We're all best friends again.
So, I ask you....

Well, have you?
(The t-shirt is from Backyard Poultry Magazine. Had to have it!)

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