About The Luker's
The Luker's consist of me, my husband, a beautiful 12 year old girl and a precious 11 year old boy. Our lives are anything but "normal." I am blessed to be a pediatric nurse; have been practicing for 16 years now, at the same facility where I have been employed for 25 years (started just out of the uterus). My husband works at the same hospital as a maintenance engineer in surgery. He has a $15k piece of paper that certifies him as an IT Specialist, but the pay for that in our area is pathetic, so he's doing the same job he was doing before we purchased that expensive, time-consuming, piece of paper they call a degree. Our kids: This is where our lives become abnormal Our oldest, a girl, is both blessed and cursed to be gifted. Blessed because academics come easy to her, cursed because public education bores her. On the other end of the spectrum is our precious son who is autistic. We have had many laughs over the task of challenging and educating kids on polar ends of the spectrum. Jon has taught us more about life than we ever expected; most of all, he has taught us what is important in life. He is the happiest kid on earth; if the rest of us were like him, there would be no war, no crime, no sadness...and no food left in the pantry. My kids are my favorite subject as I am very proud of both of them.
We sorta stumbled into the world of raising chickens. My sister first peaked my interest when she and her husband started raising them a few months ago. Then came my "hippie" coworker's. A couple girls who live and breathe for ah la natural everything. One raises chickens and started bringing eggs to work and talking about the chickens. I sat back and listened for weeks and suddenly I found myself wanting chickens. I was raised in a rural area, but we never had farm animals; instead we always had large gardens. I've tried my hand at that as an adult and just find it not worth the time and alabama heat-stroke of harvesting in the dead of summer. Besides, my father still has a huge one that always needs harvesting, so why attempt to duplicate his art? At first, I tried to talk him into us doing the chickens at his place; that was a no-go as birds and gardens just don't mix (he also has a yard that would be the envy of most any botanist). So, I started considering whether it could be done on my little 3/4 acre lot in suburbia. The law says, "no" but the rebel in me says, "yes" so we are! Three weeks before Mother's Day, I stunned my husband when he asked what I wanted: "A chicken coop" was my answer.
Day Two of Chicken Farming--The Drama Began
Day one began as my friend called to say she'd brought us four hens from her home in the country. We were a day away from having the coop and run completed, or so we thought. We finished the coop in half the time we'd planned as our poor hens patiently waited in a small rabbit cage. One became so frustrated that she just laid an egg in the crowded space.
Day two was quiet entertaining. Our son loves the chickens and this could prove to be bad. My daughter had friends over to swim and my son was outside playing. I went inside for a moment and suddenly I hear my daughter screaming, "No, Grace, No!!" Grace is our HUGE grate dane, who I refer to simply as "the horse." Immediately I knew why my daughter was screaming. I ran to the door to see chicken feathers flying and "the horse" in a full, clumbsy gallop around the yard. My neighbors were standing across the fence with a huge grin on their faces. My son had let the hen's out of the coop. Luckily, our yard is fenced in, so they were fairly contained--I hoped, because their wings are not clipped. We were able to quickly account for three of the hens, but one was missing--the lone black one. Also notable was their were black feathers scattered about the area outside the run.
I had my daughter lock "the horse" in the basement while we attempted to round up the hens and find the missing one. It quickly became apparent that there would be no "rounding" of the hens, we would wait and pray they returned to the coop on their own. The black one was still missing. We looked in trees, under decks, under campers, across the street, etc. but it was nowhere to be found. My husband became angry with my daughter at one point when he asked, "Do you see the chicken crossing the road?" and all she could do was laugh because of the jokes about chicken's crossing roads. About the time calm was returning and we had decided the missing hen was a goner, the basement door bursted open and the horse came charging. She had literally broken through the basement door; it now looks like something from the "Hey Koolaide" commericials--except a horse instead of a pitcher of koolaide. After an hour or so, the three hens returned to the run on their own--thank God. As I locked the coop, the missing hen struts out from under the deck. We were relieved and had no doubt she was headed to the coop. Wrong. She strutted for another two hours as we sat nearby the coop so we could open the door if and when she decided to return. She finally did...and we then did what I've read on her a million times; we LOCKED the coop with a padlock to prevent future excitement.
Thought for the day: I never knew either until I started this whole project, but I bet I have been asked a hundred times, "How do you have eggs when you have no rooster?" My husband's coworker's argued with him for weeks about this--laughed at him and assured him we'd never have eggs without a rooster. Isn't it funny how we go our whole lives and never really know how we get eggs?