Well praise the Lord! Such lovely clouds! Oh wait, no, those are impending rain clouds. Clouds that foretell lots of rain, rain that will flood the yard and all the chicken pens.
Whomever it was that built our house thought it would be prudent to dig a ton of dirt out of the yard to make it lower. I just… I, I don’t understand. He didn’t need it for another project; he just stuck it in mounds elsewhere. I’m not going to spend unnecessary time grappling with his sordid logic, but I would like to meet him and shake my head at him in dismay because I’m really sick of wading through water up to my calves every time I go out to feed the chickens. Swamp wading was one of my favorite hobbies as a child. My dad and I would go waist deep in muck and take pictures of flowers and just enjoy some messy fun. Even as an adult, in Florida, I used to love to wander barefoot through the mangrove swamps as a respite from civilization, of which I’m not a big fan. But this is different.
I ended up having to hand feed all my chickens, with the exception of Roid, Mr. Jerkface bantam rooster. Roid got his name two days after hatching, as he went on a rampage and trampled the other chicks, as though he had ‘roid rage. He was kind of a sweet chick, despite being a little feisty.
Baby Roid, snugging up to me during a late winter storm.
Roid’s current hobby is trying to attack my hand. Luckily, he doesn’t have spurs yet, so really, all he can do is peck at my hand and fluff his feathers. And crow so loudly that you can hear him over a mile away. Not kidding. We were having a wholesome family afternoon of shelling beans at my father-in-law’s house a couple weeks ago and heard him, clear as day, quite literally over a mile from home. Moral of the story: Hand-feeding him today wasn’t exactly fun.
Present day Roid, screaming his head off because he can.
Feeding the “big chickens” in the flooded yard was an even more perilous adventure. We have ten 2-year-old chickens who live together: one gold lace hen, one silver lace hen, two leghorn hens, five gold comet hens, and a silver lace rooster, Elvis. I don’t have a picture of Elvis easily accessible, but he stands higher than my knee and will mess. you. up. I was free ranging the big chickens one afternoon not that long ago and had an encounter. Usually, we have mutual understanding: I feed and water him and he leave me alone. But that day, he decided to fight with me, while I was barefoot, and that wasn’t exactly fun. I managed to fend him off with some general kicks in my general direction, but not without getting a few cuts on my leg. My saving grace that probably kept me from stitches is that we trim our roosters’ spurs. It’s a totally painless process and keeps them from inflicting serious injury because roosters are no joke. We might not be so vigilant about it, but with a little-too-brave 11-year-old, we want to err on the side of caution.
Elvis hasn’t messed with me in a while. For the past few rainy days, I’ve had to feed them in the 10’x10′ chicken barn and he’s been just fine. But today, as soon as I opened the door, dude was is fighting mode and din’t want to let me in. I grabbed a piece of PVC pipe just to push him back, but he wanted to fight with that, too, which more or less consisted of him fluffing his neck and crowing into the pipe and me. (Ooh, I’m scared.) Finally, I went into crazy chicken lady mode and had a talk with him. I’ll admit it: I cussed him out and told him to get outside, wade in the water for just a minute, and just let me do my thing. It worked. Still, that turned my 30 minute chicken chores into a solid hour of annoyance.
My sweet barred rocks make all the work worth it, though.