Fowl Moving Day

Monday’s Labor Day holiday signaled the end of summer. For a large percentage of the population this week also signaled the start of school which in turn meant moving kids out of the house and back to classrooms.

With all that moving and changing and settling into routines going on, I thought Sara’s email about moving chickens was a perfect fit today. See if you don’t agree…

Fowl Moving Day

There comes a day in the life of every child where they get too big for wherever they are and they have to move. It starts with the move from bassinet to crib, then crib to “big bed” and eventually they leave the house altogether.

The same type of process happens with chickens.

They start in an incubator (which is currently in our living room),  

 

 

then move to a brooder (in our garage).

From there, they move into a small chicken yard in our back yard where the Bantams (a smaller breed of chickens) live all the time. As they get bigger than the Bantams, they move into the big chicken yard.

A similar, but simpler, process happens with the quail. They simply go from incubator to brooder to one of the quail cages in the back yard. On this particular Saturday, we had both quail and chickens to move.

A multi-step process involving cinder blocks, extra cages and much squawking.

We started by consolidating our three quail cages into one. The cage in the chicken coop only had one quail in it. I believe this quail was somewhat lonely as he spent his days walking in circles in the cage. (Of course, this could also be a result of the bird brain mentality.)

His cage is up high in the chicken coop where neither my daughter nor I can comfortably reach. Hence, the cinder block.

There are two openings in this cage and the quail would run back and forth requiring two people to be ready to catch him. That would be me and my daughter.

So we put the cinder block in the middle and each of us put one foot on it and the other on the side of the coop. Before long, we had trapped the quail and moved him in with his new cage mates.

This left his cage empty for the new quail that were outgrowing the brooder. At first, the move stressed the transferred quail. After all, they’d only seen the inside of our garage, but they have adjusted quite nicely.

Step two of moving day involved putting the young roosters into a separate cage to be fattened up before going to freezer camp and eaten later. Before you cry “animal cruelty,” I can assure you, their life has been much better than that of the chickens you buy at the grocery store.

I must confess, though, I did think of Hansel and Gretel as we were putting food into the cage. 

In case you don’t remember, the witch locked up Hansel and had him stick out his finger occasionally to see if he was fat enough to eat.

Anyway, the roosters had no idea what was happening though I was a little concerned about their transition. But since none of them were named, I wasn’t that attached and stopped worrying.

Sadly enough, when we returned from church Sunday morning, my daughter discovered all but one of the roosters had died. Apparently, they don’t like change (or they got wind of their fate and decided to commit mass suicide).

There was one lone survivor and my daughter, having learned well from her mom’s previous rooster rescue of Einstein, brought him inside.

Mr. Rooster spent the night in our living room and seemed to be better the next day. I named him Einstein II and now he’s living out his natural life with the chickens.

Our final step on this moving day was the easiest – moving chicks out to the small chicken yard.

Teaching them to go into the coop at night is not so easy. For now, I reach under the coop each night to get them and tuck them in with the Bantams. Hopefully they will get the idea soon.

P.S. Besides this being the week I start my piano students, this week happens to be the week that the eggs in the incubator are going to hatch. The cycle is continuous.

I started three new piano students to the sounds of a lone chick calling for the others to come out and play  :-) No one seemed to mind. You never know what you will learn at the Millers.

Yesterday one of my piano students danced around the living room during her brother’s lessons. She said, “You know how they do a rain dance to make it rain. Well I am doing the chicken dance to make the chicks hatch.”

Unfortunately it didn’t work until after she left. :-)

I love my job.

My favorite part of this email was Sara’s opening paragraph:

There comes a day in the life of every child where they get too big for where ever they are and they have to move. It starts with the move from bassinet to crib, then crib to “big bed” and eventually they leave the house altogether.

I remember those stages with my three children. I really looked forward to the progress each stage represented and now looking back, I wish they hadn’t come so fast.

YOUR TURN: So how’d your week go? Any chicken dancing going on? Kids moving out or in? Kiddos climbing those giant steps onto the yellow school bus?

8 responses to “Fowl Moving Day

  1. I had no idea having chickens was so much work! I guess I figured they were more or less like having a dog, except with claws and beaks of death. ;)

    I, too, love the first paragraph. As my kids begin their next year of school, I am reminded that they’ll be moving out and on in the not so distant future.

  2. So fun to here about the chickens. Too bad a lot didn’t make it. My youngest starts next week! Enjoy the piano lessons :)

  3. Wow, what a learning experience for all of us who mostly considered the life of a chicken somewhat carefree–scratching and pecking through life.

    Still, learning that there’s a lot more involved is only part of my dilemma, since I have to wonder how I’d ever manage the natural progression from yard to table once I’d become attached to my fowl yard mates.

    • Yep that’s my problem on the Miller Farm. I love Fritz, one of the fuzzy legged chicks or maybe it’s a rooster I don’t know the difference but I can’t imagine picturing Fritz in my head when I have chicken on my plate. Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great weekend.

  4. We used to keep chickens out back, and so knew my husband would appreciate this post. I read a snipped of it out loud, and he asked, “Now who was squawking? The chickens or the humans?” :)

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