The Interlude

Chaussette remains cruelly separated from her avian playmates

Chaussette remains cruelly separated from her avian playmates

I’m sitting on the grass with a tractor full of chicks and a puppy full of longing. (Well, the “Chicken Tractor” isn’t literally a tractor; it’s a mesh-sided box that allows the chicks to forage on grass or a garden plot without resulting in a full-scale chicken exodus.) The chicks are beginning their transition from living in a bin under a heat lamp to being Chickens of the Great Outdoors. It’s sunny and fairly warm but windy at this point of the day—apparently, we’re currently enjoying an interlude between storms. The first round rumbled and banged its way across the region last night, and more is due to arrive tonight. So far we in this little corner of the world have been fortunate; while we got over two inches of rain, there was no significant damage done. I’m relieved about this fact, but I feel terrible for the people who weren’t so unscathed by the storms, and I’m trying not to get too complacent. There but for the grace of God go I, after all, and there’s no saying what moment will initiate the going.

In the meantime, though, I’ll try to focus on the peace of the present and the fertility of the recent past. As I said, my puppy is staring longingly at the chicks, still desperate for a playmate. The older chickens have become adept at avoiding her, but Chaussette is still hoping that these little ones might come around to her forms of entertainment. She’s lying by the chicken tractor, eying them soulfully. I have just strongly discouraged her attempts to chew her way through the mesh and perhaps win their friendship by busting them loose.

There’s one who seems to be an acolyte of my oldest chicken, Minerva the Escape Artist. While the two have never been formally introduced, Traveler (as I’ve dubbed her) shows a similar knack for getting out of enclosures. She (at least I hope it’s a she) is the only one of the four who leaps to the edge of the bin and perches to survey her terrain every time I remove the baby gate covering it to change their water. While she hasn’t so far attempted to flee to the wild, she’s already demonstrated she COULD by somehow escaping the chicken tractor twice.

Fortunately, she seems to be as docile as she is clever, so she allows me to carry her perched on my arm like the world’s most unimpressive falcon. While she’s not a fan of Sage’s overly enthusiastic attempts to bond with her, she’s tolerated them with remarkable forbearance. (Please witness the photo of her and Sage by the swing set as evidence of this assertion.)

Sage bonds with his bemused but strangely tolerant new friend

Sage bonds with his bemused but strangely tolerant new friend

The genders of these little chickens still remain a mystery, but even if Traveler proves to be a boy, I’m starting to think he’ll have won his way into my heart and out of the Amish neighbors’ stewpot.


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