Rough month for us and the birds....


In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 7, 2013
Central Michigan
I'll apologize in advance for the novel I'm about to write. A lot going on at our house, I haven't gotten on BYC in several weeks and the more I am reading while here, the more I need to vent a bit about whats happening at our home.

So, I am very new at having chickens. Really. So new that I was convinced that a 'replacement' chic I bought was the ugliest chicken I'd ever saw until it was brought to light by my sons girlfriend that, I indeed, had a turkey not a chicken. This was not days into this turkeys life, we're talking it was a month and a half old before this discovery was made. And yes, I felt really stupid, but that is another thread. My intro thread to be exact. LOL.

Anyway, we went from the 4 two day old fuzzballs I brought home from my daughters school (they hatched them in the class) and ended up with one hen and a turkey. Long story but the cliff-notes version is: We accidentally bought a baby turkey (feed stores fault) to replace a chic that was chomped on by a dog. One turned out to be a rooster, I denied this until the morning it 'sang' me awake at 5:30 a.m. Then it had to go to a place other than our home in the middle of the city to live. Now down to two hens and a turkey. Lost one hen when I asked my son,who was shooting hockey in the street (see whats coming?), to corral them into the back yard. He did so using his hockey stick as and extension of his arm. One hen made a run for it, he tried to move quick enough to block it, tripped over a tree root, and we ended up with a dead hen that should of zigged rather than zagged. So we're now at a hen and a turkey.

The turkey, named Charlie Sheen because while I still thought it was an ugly chicken it always looked like it just came in from a long night of drinking. The hen was named Princess Rose because, well, that was what my daughter came up with on that particular day that stuck unlike the other 27 names she picked out the two days prior to that.

We moved into the house we are in now in June of this year hoping to buy it when our lease was up and even put a down payment on it. The four birds were still not old enough to go outside so I didn't feel I had to tell the landlord about them. He found out a few weeks later when he came to replace some screens and I had a very makeshift coop in the back yard. He asked me about them, I said that it was easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to beg permission, we laughed and it was no big deal. Well, it turns out that the house we live in is located on a floodplain. Not a "hey there's an inch or two of water in my basement" floodplain. More like a neighbor waking us up at two a.m. saying "Man, your truck is about to float away" type of floodplain (I have pics). We had no idea about this issue and come to find out later that this happens multiple times a year and its bad enough that no vehicles can enter or exit my dead end street. My neighbor blew the motor in his raised Ford F-250 trying to drive through. It gets about six feet deep at the crossroads which is two driveways down from mine. It's bad enough that there is a class action suit against the township. Oh, and its not just water, it's a mixture of sewage and water. I know.....Gross. The neighborhood stunk for two days. So we are in a legal battle with our landlord trying to get out of our lease and get the money back we put down on the house because of stuff that he did not disclose before we moved in. Again, I am sorry for the long read but I told you that story to tell you this one:

The township that we just moved into has not yet approved the ownership of hens whereas the city where I was living in (which I moved out of by about 250 feet. Really, one street over and I'd be alright) it was okay to own up to four hens. That's not a huge issue, but being my landlord is not happy with us (we turned him to the township also because he failed to have the house inspected and listed as a rental, a safety issue for us) we were thinking that he would use anything he could against us and actually has already tried to pull some pretty shady stuff that we had to have our lawyer step in on and put an end too. So, I made the decision to get rid of the birds. I sent them with a friend of mine's girlfriend who lives out on a farm with other chickens and some goats. No turkeys, but she's always wanted one. I did this with the understanding that if we were able to, we want them back. She was nice enough to agree to the terms. I had been rolling this around in my head for several days prior to them going. The problem was, I did not tell anyone else about my plan, most importantly the kids. So they came home from school, looking for the birds that greet them everyday and I had to explain to a 4, 6, and 10 year old why daddy sent their friends away. I know, dad of the year right here, but if you carefully read the first paragraph or any of my other post, you'd already know the kinda brain power you're dealing with. LOL.

The thing is, we REALLY enjoyed having those birds here. The turkey had way more personality than I'd ever thought of a turkey having. The hen followed the turkey around like a little puppy following a kid dropping food. It was quite funny to watch. Where ever they were, if they heard a vehicle pull in the driveway they'd come running. The turkey would come from the side of our yard to the back sliding door and stare in at you like a creepy neighbor. If you ignored him or he couldn't see you, he would come to the side door, up on the deck where my BBQ grill was and clank the tools that were hanging off the grill to let you know that he had finished breakfast and it was now time for a snack before his nap in the lawn and then brunch. I know this is wrong, but I had quit trying to contain them a month ago. They flew over the 6 foot fence I had for their redneck chicken run. They were big enough that my cat, which kills everything, would just stalk them then quit when he realized they were either too big to take down, or that they might do more damage to him if he got to close he'd run off do get a mouse or something. There's not much else that would take them down. They hung out with my sixty pound boxer mix with no problems. Their coop at the time was an old dog kennel I had put a roof and some walls on to protect them from rain and animals at night. I just free ranged them. Yup, right there in the city. My backyard is not fenced in either. They usually stayed in the yard, but liked to wonder to my neighbors to eat the peaches that fell out of his tree. They would head into my front yard but never wandered into the street, or even near it, and they were always back in their coop at dusk. Not something you see everyday wandering around in my area. People would stop by and ask if they or their kids could pet them. The turkey was more than happy to receive the attention, but in the short time that the hen had been able to outrun my daughter, she decided that she really did not want to be caught, put in a toy baby crib, or bathed, or whatever other torture my daughter had planned for her. She had been touched by people enough for her short life. But she was more than happy to let me pet her in the coop when I had finally got around to building a proper coop for them. Her way of thanking me for getting her off the ground and into a decent home maybe. I really wanted to get an egg from her too, but she was still young when she left. Anyways, I finally get around to building them a proper coop and I then decide to get rid of them. It was made from mostly scrap wood, but It was pretty nice considering I was trying to get it done in a hurry. It had a roost, nesting boxes, nice little ramp, and a locking door to keep the critters out doors in the back to collect the eggs I would eventually have, and I was able to completely open it up to spray it out or sweep it when needed. Good roof and insulate walls for the winter, but it can have plenty of ventilation for the summer by opening a couple vents. I am hoping to be able to keep the coop and move it to the new house we will someday have....hopefully.

I guess the whole thing is that when we brought those four little guys home, we had no idea that they would be as much of a member of the family as they ended up being. It's been tough on the kids, and honestly me too. I still look for Charlie to come running (with that stupid looking way turkeys run) from the side of the house and attack our feet because evidently toes poking out of sandals look like turkey treats or something. I also had to be careful after my knee surgery because stitches look like something yummy to turkeys as well. That was a painful thing to discover. LOL. The kids ask about them. I have a feeling we will be taking a trip to the farm this week to see how the birds are doing. I just am worried that they will have a hard time, knowing that we have to leave the birds there. It's stressful for sure.

I wanted to let everyone know that I really had learned a lot here. I will be checking in and posting still and we will be praying that we are able to get into a home where we are able to get our birds back and hopefully add a few more. Thanks again for everyone's help and advice, and I really am sorry about the novel.

Hope to be back with some funny stories soon
And for those who thought I was kidding when I said the kids "tortured" the birds, here is a pic of my two youngest with their freshly bathed (in a cooler as a bathtub) turkey and hen. The hen didn't give much of a fight (she always gives in to whatever my daughter has planned for her) but they would have found it easier to simultaneously give all three of our cats a bath than it was to get that turkey in a cooler full of water.

Below is a pic of her playing something (house I think)with the birds. Yes the hen would sit in the folding chair as long as my daughter would leave her there and the turkey would hang out till he got bored and found something more fun. I have a pic somewhere of the hen sleeping in a doll crib that my daughter dragged out of the house. The hen was covered up with a blanket and had a small doll next to it. For a moment I thought she killed it, but nope, she would stick that thing where she wanted it and it would stay there out of either fright or enjoyed being pampered. And by the way, the saw and stuff on the table was stuff I was using, not stuff my daughter used while playing with the birds. LOL.

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Enjoyed the story . Sorry you couldn't keep the 'flock'.

Looks like your daughter is having a tea party. Or meeting on how to break out of the coop.
Sorry to hear of your problem home and wondering if matters have been settled. I do enjoy your stories and really doesn't matter if they're funny or not. :)
I've got my fingers crossed
that you are moved to a wonderful home out of the city and have added many chicks and turkeys
(love happy endings... or beginnings lol)

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