I know, I know ... it's a small thing. Long Rant!!


In the Brooder
11 Years
Apr 2, 2008
NW Alabama
My aunt is using three of our off-the-ground chicken pens for her flock. She has a trio of Mille Fleurs, a pair of Columbian Rocks (supposedly bantams, but the jury is still out on that) and three bantam hens that I think are BB Reds. Anyway, she asked to use the pens temporarily until she got something going at her house to keep all the chickens over there. That was a month ago. To be honest, I wasn't using the pens in question at the time and it wasn't a problem except that I know my aunt pretty well. She has great intentions and is going to hatch baby cucumbers, as my dad would say. However, I am shortly going to need the use of the pens in question because my babies are growing and I'll need to separate them out for space reasons. She think it's perfectly okay to leave her chickens where they are until she gets "a round to it" and gets quarters for them at her house. She hasn't even started on the project!

My aunt has a lot of migraines so she says (they are not classic migraines and I'm not disputing she has a headache -- I'm just not convinced they are of the severity she says they are. But that's another story.) Anyway, I told Mom that we'd be the ones feeding and watering her chickens, "because you're already there and I have a migraine" or something like that. So... I haven't seen my aunt in over a week. Last weekend she couldn't be bothered with the chickens b/c she was watching her grandkids. Yesterday, when my mom said something about her not checking on her critters more often, my aunt said "Well, I figure I only need to feed them every few days. They are banties after all. How much feed can they eat?"

Okay -- so maybe the feed would last her chickens a couple of days. Actually, it doesn't. I don't like to see totally empty feed pans, but maybe that's me. But it's been running about 75 to 80 degrees here for most of the last 8 - 10 days. I know for a fact that my chickens need their water refilled at least every other day. Her three pens had dust in the waterers and zilch in two of the feeders when I went over there today. To be honest, I did not check that closely on them yesterday.

Anyway, my aunt informed Mom that we needed to clear out the brush and stuff between our chicken yard and her house because it was just too much trouble to thrash through the brush to get to the chicken yard. The fact that she could be walking the driveway which is clear of brush doesn't count, I guess. She's pi**ing and moaning because she's afraid she'll run up on a snake. A distinct possibility, but then again, we do live in the boonies with a 40+ acre beaver pond in the back yard. Our closest neighbors are about a mile by road and close to that as the crow flies. She's expecting us (Mom and me) to clear a 10 foot wide path from her house to our chicken yard so she won't have to worry about coming across a snake. My aunt's house is about 1/4 to 1/3 mile from our front door and we do have to pass her house every time we go out to the store, etc. I don't complain to her about her stupid dog that constantly chases us when we pass her house. It likes to run at us and then stop directly in front of the car. I can't tell you how many times that dog has nearly gone to doggy heaven. Accidentally, of course.

To add insult to injury, she's grumping about a dead tree and live hedges. The tree in question is a fairly large oak tree (about 3 feet in diameter or so) that was struck by lightning a year or so ago. The top of the tree fell and is blocking easy drive up access to the chicken area. I can drive up to about 20 feet from the chicken house door. Yep, it's a pain to lug the feed 20 feet, but then again, it's a pain to lug feed anywhere. She wants to get some pens out that my other aunt bought from my dad before 1995. She'll have to get the pens out between hedges that have grown up in the intervening years. That's my fault, too. I should have been keeping the hedges down. The fact that my other aunt should have gotten her freaking pens out of the area back when she paid for them is of no consequence, I guess.

I can't just light the tree up because there is a live electrical line in it. Our chicken yard is about 100 yards from our front door and my parents ran electricity and water over there for easy access. The tree was alive and well then, but that was originally done about 1980. I'm not supposed to stress my body out or lift anything that weighs more than 5 lbs. (Long story that will bore you to tears. Suffice to say it's a result of complications from cancer surgeries.) The fact that I do it anyway is my choice, stupid though it is. I work on clearing the tree as I am able. My mom is having serious complications from a residual UTI and isn't physically able to work on the tree. I don't have the funds to hire it out to be cleared and depending on any of my family members is setting oneself up for serious disappointment.

I know where I'd like to tell her to put her chickens. But if I asked myself, WWJD, that is not the answer I'd get. Oh... she did say that if I wanted to try to hatch her chickens' eggs, I was welcome to try and we could talk about splitting up the hatched chicks later on. Does this sound like a "Little Red Hen" project to you?

Arghhhhhhhhhhhh. What would you do? I know what I'd LIKE to do!


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Jun 29, 2007
Kansas~50+ yrs of chickens
I'd tell her you need your pens back and she has a set amount of time to move her chickens or you'll do it. You seem to know your aunt pretty well and how this whole thing will work out in the end. Doesn't sound like there's going to be a pleasant ending no matter what so if it was me, I'd give her the eviction notice and follow through on it. You can always box the chickens up in a cardboard box and leave them on her doorstep. After loaning a few things to people and either never getting them back, them being broken or having to retrieve them myself I just don't loan things anymore. It has upset a couple of friends a couple of times, but that's the way it is. I also never borrow anything from anyone.


Still chillin' with my peeps
11 Years
Mar 13, 2008
East South Central (West KY)
Not any of my biz, but I have to agree w/ Katy. Sounds like your aunt is just taking advantage of you (btw, Ann Landers used to say that no one can take advantage of you without your permission
. The suggestion for setting a specific date or time frame is probably going to be your best option to get your equipment back and let your aunt know you are serious and she's got to get her act together. Frankly, it's rather sad to hear how she neglects her poor babies; doesn't much sound like she actually needs chickens to care for. Is there any way you could talk her into giving them up for their own good? That way she wouldn't have to have a path, you could have your pens back, and the chickens wouldn't be sitting out there starving and dehydrating. Just a thought... hope all goes well for you.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
It sure sounds like things are going to go on like this, bugging the heck out of you with her moaning and complaining and taking advantage of your good nature, until and unless you put your foot down. At which time there will of course be a Scene, probably with residual hard feelings afterwards.

It seems to me that either you're prepared to let things go on like this indefinitely (which may mean 'forever'), or you may as well cut to the chase and have your Scene and get it over and done with. Just depends what you're more comfortable with.

Good luck, isn't family fun




red-headed stepchild
11 Years
Feb 6, 2008
Southeast Coast of Florida
* Let it rest a bit, take care of the chickens and then say sweetly, " Auntie, would you like some chickens?? I have 8 that someone left me awhile ago, but I need the pens for the new ones, so I'll have to cull these unless I can find someone willing to take them. ." In my family-- if the fur is gonna fly, we let it fly high and get it all out in the open. . . .
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