Chicken Complaints


Oct 18, 2019
Last month, I was venting to a family member RE: my chickens. In the interest of the struggles of new chicken ownership, especially during winter, I thought I would post part of the communication:

This being the third day of the New Year in which vision is 20/20, I thought I would acquaint you with some goals which seem most noteworthy and meaningful within the small scope of my influence.

Firstly, I would like to be better treated by the small creatures numbered among my realm of responsibility, namely, my chickens. I still believe them to be overly ungrateful and interested in the acquisition of food while generally uninterested in myself. As a responsible person who moved veritable mountains to provide them with shelter, warmth, and happiness, I am growing increasingly convinced that they neither acknowledge these personal sacrifices, nor would they appreciate them if they were indeed able to recognize them. I daily attempt to remind them that they are often found, consumed, and enjoyed in all forms of spicy, barbecued, and marinated within various restaurants, homes, and pet food facilities across our nation. Many of their brethren are bred, live, and perish in conditions unfit for any living creature. However, I have perceived that these ungrateful fowls cherish me in a shallow and superficial manner at best: for the cheeses I bring, not the selfless sacrifices offered from the heart. I cannot, therefore, conclude these fowls to be the most intelligent of creeping creatures for this failure of perception. Considering their fowl-heartedness, or lack thereof, my complaints are innumerable and unceasing. Knowing all this to be true, I continue to find myself concerned with their safety once the gates of their freedom are thrown open with the arrival of springtime and they are once again free to roam the world. While they could be wielding their power with the allowance of an occasional pet on the head or back, or by allowing themselves to be briefly held, they by no means allow close proximity to their persons. I recant: they DO allow themselves to be held, but only when under the influence of the “chicken trance” induced by darkness. When chased down and held during daytime hours, however, strong objections are raised. When successfully captured against their will, the chickens do not seem to recognize the fact that they are being picked up, rather, that they suddenly find themselves to be very far from the ground.

It is my belief that these particular chickens of the bantam size have implemented a method that capitalizes on the concept where minimum effort equals maximum results. In other words, my chickens have outsmarted me and I am mad about it while rendered helpless to escape their power.

I find myself unable to resist their unspoken requests:

  • A wet tree stump in their run to provide an additional crowing perch and perhaps some tasty bugs
  • A new bag of cheese, preferably the larger shreds, mozzarella is best
  • Mealworm cakes available for purchase from only one store in town
  • Additional scoops of sand added to their dust bath because it is getting low from kicking most of the sand out during overly-enthusiastic preceding dust bath sessions. The bag of sand weighs 50 pounds and I myself weigh in just over 110 pounds but, in their estimation, more sand is required sooner rather than later.
  • Daily walks around the garage should not be accompanied by any humans, dogs, or cats. They should have the immediate perimeter to themselves and be allowed to poop freely without being trailed by scary paper towels.
  • More mirrors, because two aren’t enough and there should be more chickens in the mirrors.
  • Activities involving white moths and the hunting thereof.
  • Practice of the common courtesy of removing human hands from the feeding area at all times.
  • A “do not disturb” sign for the coop door to restrict rude humans from peeking inside during private times such as nesting or sleeping
  • Large-curd cottage cheese (not small curd)
These stipulations are communicated to the human from the chicken with the combined use of body language (mainly stepping around) and brief, one-eyed stares. Occasional opinions are voiced, but usually only amongst themselves and have nothing to do with me.

Fundamentally, I know that I am smarter than these chickens, and yet, I question who has the upper hand when I find myself dragging a wheelbarrow full of dirty coop shavings backwards through two feet of wet snow to the woods in January. It was when stumbling back for another load of shavings with snow in my boots that the uncanny clarity of New Year vision broke upon me: hindsight is 20/20. One day my chickens might come around, but for now, whether the day holds mozzarella or cheddar, pellets or crumbles, scratch or oyster shells, both myself and the chickens must be content with all that the present holds.

Here they are pictured sipping water while generally being ungrateful
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