Coop Tales

My chicken adventure has seen many changes over the years. I don’t remember when it began, but it’s been at least five or six years now. There have been births:

And adorable little creatures to marvel over:

At one point evidently, I had six chickens! Here they were, sunning themselves on a chilly winter morning:

This is Esmerelda, my only chicken that has been laying eggs of late.

Because these two aren’t quite old enough yet. A few more weeks!

But something happened day before yesterday.

When I went out to put the flock of three to bed, I found my beautiful, gentle, kind Esmerelda expired and lying peacefully near the water bowl. She just died. And it wasn’t from old age as she is not even two years old yet. She wasn’t ill and showed no signs of distress the whole day.

I stood there looking at her in disbelief. And somewhere inside me I heard a click. And a light went off.

I can’t take this any more. No more death. No more chickens. No more drama.

Even though they have given me a lot of pleasure, and entertainment, and yes… eggs…. I just have run out of emotional energy for it.

It hit me especially hard because Esmerelda was such a sweet bird. She always let me hold her. She came running when I called. She was such a beautiful hen. And she was one of only three. It’s just as much work to take care of one chicken as it is 6 or 7 really.

So the next morning, I put Rachel and Leah on the Chicken Folk FB page and in a few hours they found a new home. I sold them for a good price as I have done all the work of raising them right to the point of being ready to start earning their keep. They are now a welcome addition in a nice large flock of well cared for hens…. elsewhere.

So I am left with this. The absolute most wonderful chicken coop and accompanying clover field in the whole county.

And I am about to embark on a project I have always wanted to try.

I’m going to make a little home away from home. A tiny cottage. A retreat. A little studio. A place to paint or read or write in one of my journals.

The last two days have been a little crazy because I am working through my grief and disappointment with a frenzy of activity. I cleared out all the straw and removed everything but one corner shelf that I intend to use. It still needs a detailed cleaning which will include vacuuming cobwebs and the odd feather here and there.

I have the great blessing and advantage that because we installed a poop board in the coop, it has always remained a very tidy place. Their droppings went onto stall dry which is like cat litter and I cleaned the dried up manure regularly so it never smelled bad in there either. It’s a relatively clean building considering it’s been a chicken coop for all these years.

I have battens to replace to make it a little less drafty and some air vents to close up so I can maybe make it comfortable in the cooler weather. I plan to put in an electric heater and a rug and a bunch of other stuff. I have already purchased the battens and will get to work on that as soon as the wood is delivered. And the coop will embark upon its new incarnation.

(Maybe you could call it Dillweed Cottage.)

You can’t make me feel bad today ( ). I’ve already weathered the worst blows. And I’m going to make something beautiful from my sorrow.

Stand back.

The Cupcake is at work. I have a hammer and I know how to use it!

Farewell my chickens. May all your eggs be double yolkers.