If you are invited to a chicken farm, my recommendation is that you should expect to see chickens. Believe it or not, most chicken farms do have chickens, so on arrival, I am not surprised to see chickens bobbing around in at least four separate enclosures. The wind kicks up as I step out of the car and make my way inside, waving to Sue, who is in the middle of corralling the birds into one of their several chicken houses.
This being my second visit, I note immediately that the chicken population has significantly expanded within the last couple of years! I follow my aunt, also the lovely author of this blog, as she immediately jumps into helping herd various groups of chickens. We stroll across the field and as she opens the gate to the enclosure that one set of chickens share with the goats, she says, “You don’t have to come in,” but I hop through.
“Believe it or not, I did expect to see chickens,” I say, and one of the goats gently bumps into me, producing a vague humming noise.
“They like it when you hum at them,” she says, and I hum back at the goat, patting his back.
I learn that these particular chickens keep the goats, Scooby and Thumper (who, I am told, they did NOT name), company. “They like the chickens, but do the chickens like them?”
“They don’t mind them,” she says, and we move on to the next set of chickens. The wind may be biting, but the sunset over the field is beautiful. I’m not used to seeing so much open space laid out before me, stretching away into the horizon’s distant blur, with mountains only in the distance. The sky is a delightful shade of pure pink which fades into blue with hardly a trace of purple overlapping the two.
I wait as she jumps the electric fence without batting an eye, and then trods over to wave at the chickens impatiently.
“I thought you said the fence was electric,” I say, but she just shrugs, with the air of someone who needs to put their chickens to bed, whether the fence is electric or not.
“Maybe it’s a little shorted out from the rain,” she tells me, and goes back to her chicken-waving. One squawks loudly, offended at being sent inside.
I grin and turn to look at the sunset, slowly darkening, and the clouds floating high above the wind. Typical! That’s just like her; and Sue too. They can be so stubborn, as long as it lets them accomplish whatever task they’re trying to do. Electric fence? Be wary of it! …Unless you have to step over it to put the chickens in, of course. Sometimes things just can’t stand in the way of taking care of the chickens.
–Rhiann Glaudini, 23rd January, 2021