Chicks in the House…

We kept a few birds for a couple of days last week.

They were the chicks that had been brought into the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre (where my son and his wife live in their Tiny House) after Easter.

That was 12 weeks ago and they are now quite large but still not big enough to be introduced to the established flock already on the property…without being hen-pecked.

They needed special attention since they were still young and we, on our acreage, accepted the invitation to look after them.

They arrived in a large cage, five of them,


I counted and re-counted because Hubs every now and then would say,

“I thought there were six,” and send me into a flap.

We set them down on the back patio and were introduced briefly to Wormwood and Dobby and others whose Harry Potteresque names escape me now.

I simply referred to them collectively as ‘The Chickies’.

Simon and Lindsey brought in newspaper and feed,

And a large box of produce donated by a grocery store for their birds,

“There’s lots of fruit you can eat right now and too many over-ripe bananas to last until we get back!” Simon said as he opened the lid and started unpacking.

The cloud of fruit flies caused me to close up the box and say,

“I’ll tackle that when you’ve left.”

They grabbed sandwiches we’d prepared for them and gave us instructions to keep Callie away,

“We don’t want the chickens getting comfortable around cats.”

Poor Callie, she just wanted to stalk them for few minutes, get close enough to smell their musk, perhaps scatter them abroad in a flurry of wings and confusion just for the heck of it, but that wasn’t going to be allowed.

“You can let them roam out here if you like,”  Simon offered as he bid a fond farewell to his birds, “we let them wander around our tiny house…”

I looked at our screened in porch with its concrete floor and sisal rug,

“Just make sure you cover anything you don’t want to be pooped on,” cautioned Lindsey following my gaze.

They slammed their car door shut and were off to Arkansas for a break leaving us alone, as guardians, of six…no five…chickens.

They seemed happy enough…if the amount of pecking and scratching they were doing is anything to go by.

Callie was curiously keeping watch on the other side of the door.

All those chickens were making us hungry!

I made three large breads with the bananas,


and then we ate dinner to the accompaniment of the soft cheeping coming from the Orpingtons and Plymouth Rock.

Not wanting to chance an invasion through our pet sturdy screens by a chicken-hungry-coyote during the night, we laid a drop cloth on the carpet in one of our spare rooms and transferred the ladies to the safety of the house proper.

We closed the door, to prevent Callie from stirring things up in the hen house just for the fun of it during the long, boring hours of sundown, and went to bed.

In the morning I checked on them and was met with an unsavory smell of confined fowl, a musky, sweet aroma.

They were all roosting atop their branches,


so I left them to it and went to practice Yoga for an hour and rid my nostrils of the pungent smell!

Later I enlisted Hubs to help me move them outside for cleaning and refreshment.

After removing the bottom tray and replenishing their food and water supply I left them to paddle in the long grass and peck and scratch to their hearts’ desires..safely inside their cage under my watchful eye.

When the temperature rose I brought them inside again, turned on the fan and they settled contentedly on their newspaper.

Gradually my house was losing it’s sweet chicken smell to be replaced by a honeysuckle perfume provided by one of my candles.

That evening I told Hubs,

“We’re not cooping them up in a room this evening…!”

On the second and third nights they stayed on the back porch, at a safe distance from the screen and hidden from marauding eyes by a large drop cloth completely swaddling their pen.

Ample ventilation meant that all was sweet and fresh the next morning and we settled into a routine.

I managed to stroke a couple of them, gosh they are silky, and briefly contemplated ownership of chickens but only if I had a Chicken Tractor.

It would need to be enmeshed to keep undesirables out while my ladies worked hard turning over and fertilizing patches of our lawn each day, not to mention the laying of eggs.

I’m sure, over time, we’d get to know each one as a unique Mademoiselle.

But for the few days Simon and Lindsey’s birds were with us we donned our over protective grandparent hats and did as we were told.


A few days after we returned them safely to their owners we received the news that two snakes had gained access  to their cage and killed a pair of them off.

We were all quite startled by the news.

It happened in the blink of an eye and our son cautioned us in  a text,

“I wouldn’t keep your barn kittens locked in their cage at night…they wouldn’t be able to escape from a predator if it got in with them.”

Now I leave Phoena and Midnight’s cage unlocked and they come and go as they please (only inside the barn at the moment).

On the chicken front, Simon and Lindsey have completely wrapped the cage with protective wire mesh to keep them safe while slowly introducing them to the free-ranging flock who are a group of older layers who enjoy bullying the young girls.

Chicken rearing with all its outdoor dangers is a responsibility I’ll be putting off for now!

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