The Line-up

I appreciate the consistency of the chickens when they get on their roost at night.  I tend to go out right at dusk or a little after, to make sure they are in, secure, alive, calm.  They always line up near the north side of the coop.  The right as I stand and look into the coop.  From the right, it’s 2 Rhode Island Reds, then a Barred Rock, then a Rhode Island Red, then the last Barred Rock.  So far, in my non-scientific study, they follow this pattern every night.  I wish, for symmetry’s sake, that the colors and breeds would be strictly alternating, but I don’t think they care about the color scheme.  Steve might, I guess.  But what can one misnamed chicken do?

They are fully grown now.  They’ve lost their chickie voices, and use their ‘young female out in the cruel world’ voices.  As I herd them back in their coop after a few hours of backyard time, they murmur to themselves about the injustice of it all.  “What is that green stickie thing he keeps waving and clicking at me?” “I know there were more bugs to get – why didn’t he let me finish that?” “Is that dog gonna chase me today?” “There’d BETTER be fresh feed in the coop when I get back, or I swear someone’s gonna be SORRY.”

When I open the coop door they hop out and fly with exuberance.  Only 5-10 feet, though, and it isn’t an ESCAPE type of flying, it’s just an excitement to be out of the fence.  Like Hancock when he jumps out of the prison fence to get the basketball and comes right back in.  I am surprised that they usually skip the vegetable garden.  I would think they’d like to scratch around there; lots of bugs for sure on the zucchini plants, as a matter of fact, they could really help me out there by eating all those.  Must not be their brand of bug.  They usually head for the flower gardens which have lots of close, concealing foliage.  They migrate then to the butterfly bush, then the crabapple tree, a quick trip by the trailers, and then through the honeysuckle.

That puts them in Angie’s potted herb garden, which is usually good for a few minutes of scritching.  They love to head for the wood pile.  On it, beside it, behind it, around it – they do that whole race course several times.  If I haven’t come out to put them away yet, they start the whole thing over – double checking past scritches, and making new ones along the way.  You never know what could have shown up since the last lap.  May as well check it out.