I almost broke up with chickens. Spoiler alert: we're back together again. Louie is happy.
Our flock of hens had dwindled, by natural causes, to 8 chickens last year, and by mutual consent by everyone in the family, we chose to find a new farm for those girls to live. We made a local family happy on Christmas Eve, besides ours. We were absolutely thrilled to see the hens leave the premises. In all honesty, despite statements of "yeh, of course we will," I didn't think we'd get more chickens.
Turns out, I lied.
I loved not having chickens for about a month, but I began missing those hens more and more, and the early spring/lack of winter thing we have going on has begun to give everyone spring fever, and in spring I think about things like getting chicks and starting gardens.
I bought 20 chicks today. They're totally adorable, and living in my kitchen.
The dogs are completely thrilled with my purchase. Jill is very sure she will be the mama hen, if given the chance to just sit in the crate with them. Louie is equally sure that I brought home fast food. Chicken nuggets for everyone! I let the dogs lick a chick or two, to make them happy. And to teach Louie that chickens are friends, not food. I really don't think he means them harm, but he has a hard time curbing his enthusiasm at times. Chickens make him very happy; they always have. He's just excited to see squeaking baby ones. It's too much for his doggy mind to wrap itself around.
In the next few weeks, I'll be cleaning out the coop, redecorating it, rat-proofing it (which is actually why we re-homed the last set of girls - the rats were just out of control), and planting mint all the way around the coop in an effort to deter future rodents from taking up residence in the coop. I'll also be building a chicken tractor so the hens aren't always cooped in the coop. We have a spare dog kennel that will benefit from a set of wheels on it, and those hens of mine will go mobile.
I think more than anything, I'm excited to have a natural garbage disposal again. I felt so wasteful every time I cleaned out the refrigerator or made a salad, and tossed all those food scraps into the trash. Now I'll be recycling, saving money on chicken feed, and getting farm fresh eggs.
I love chickens. They make the dogs and I happy. But I'll leave the chicken licking to Jill and Louie.