So picture if you will, a beautiful snow covered mountain with the sun just beginning to rise shinning its golden first light on a picturesque log home. On the porch of that home is a swing where a woman sits snuggled in her blankets, sipping hot coffee, watching the snow covered world come to life around her. Beautiful isn't it? Well that was NOT my morning today!
Let’s get this on the record right now… I am NOT a morning person. I do not enjoy waking up at the crack of dawn (earlier actually) and stumbling around the cold dark house making fires and the like. However, in an effort to be more productive and squeeze more 'work' into my waking hours, I have taken to getting up with my husband at 0400.
Last week, my husband and I had a date night to Tractor Supply where I was immediately overcome by the cute fuzziness of chicks and ducks. We ended up purchasing 5 Red Sexlinks, 2 Khaki Campbell ducks, and 10 White Leghorns. Now, 10 Leghorns (15 layers) total seems like a lot but let me tell you a story. The White Leghorns were $1.00. They had grown at the store to the point that they were flying out of the buckets (around 5 weeks-ish I'm guessing) and wreaking havoc! So I purchased 10 of the Leghorns for one dollar. Pretty thrifty if I do say so myself.
So fast forward a week and a half to this morning.
I go downstairs to find of my leghorns has been pecked on her tail region until she was bloody. Chickens do this when they're too cramped or bored. While it is a big deal, it is manageable. I need to move infirm bird to her own quarters until she heals (or the other birds will peck her to death...literally!).
So I make a plan. Clean the 1 weekers' and ducks' brooder first. This for me means: moving the chicks, cleaning the waterer (with OnGuard spray!), cleaning the feeder (also with OnGuard), dumping out the old litter, scrubbing up the tub (with OnGruard), drying it, replacing the litter, filling the waterer and feeder, and putting back in the chicks/ducks. About a 20-30 minute process. So that's done.
Next, I need to make a home for the infirm leghorn pullet. I got a tub, made it nice with litter, food, and water. I caught infirm bird, placed her in new home and covered it with chicken wire. Ok done. Next I cleaned out the Leghorn pullets' brooder. Well in the process of doing that, infirm chicken (who will from hence forth be named Houdini) escaped from her new accommodations and flew behind the couch.
Ok...has anyone ever had to try to catch a chicken behind a couch by themselves? It's nearly impossible! You go this way, they run the other way.... You throw something on the other side of the couch and they dodge it or fly over the couch. You bang you head on the shelf above the couch and Houdini laughs at you, making you even more mad... You think, "Fine! I'll just leave you there and you'll come out eventually!" and then when she does come out, you can't catch her because you're carrying a waterer and she's gone again. I know that 'Houdini' may sound like a lame name, but really it was the most mild adjective I used to describe her this morning! So I finally caught her and got her back to her brooder.
Finished cleaning out the pullets' brooder and started to water my started seedlings for the garden. I hear this 'Cheep' behind me and there is Houdini standing in my laundry room looking at me with this evil chicken eye (anyone who has chickens knows what this looks like!) So very slowly I turn around and try to catch her which resulted in exactly nothing except her running under my industrial stove (not lit currently). The chase was on again for another 30 minutes. Finally I get her back in her brooder, covered it with the chicken wire and placed firewood around the edges so girlfriend can't fly/jump and push the wire aside again. TASK ACCOMPLISHED!
Except........ That at this time I noticed that the waterer I put back in the chick brooder had leaked and was now completely emptied into the brooder. Hence, move the chicks, clean and refill the waterer, clean and refill the feeder (because it had an inch of water in it!!), empty the litter, dry the tub, refill the tub with litter, put back the waterer, feeder, and chicks.
And all this BEFORE my first cup of coffee!!!!!
It was now 0648… I started out at 0430…. More than two hours of chicken craziness with no caffeine on board?! Who wanted to keep chickens again?! The funniest part of the whole ordeal was that the second time I had to clean out the chick brooder, I had no where to put them while I emptied the tub… I put them in an Easter basket I had in the laundry room. LOL! I posted pictures on fb recently about not buying kids chicks and bunnies for Easter, and now here I was putting chicks in Easter baskets! Oh dear! Too funny.
Anyway, I’m totally going to drink coffee and take a shower. Have a great day all!
*OH! and please let me clarify... buying chickens are ducks was not really an impulse buy as I have been doing research for month! I did impulsively buy them that night, but we were going to get them sometime this month anyway. Please don't buy chicks and ducks because they're cute... they are a lot of time and energy! thanks! :)