Monday, November 14, 2011
Party in Da Coop!
Unlike the members of our own species, chickens are religiously devoted to getting up with the sunrise and going to bed with the sunset. If it's dark, they'll sleep. If it's light, they won't. Generally, then, when we put the chickens in the for evening, we don't turn the coop light on at all, but my twin sister and her four-year-old daughter had just arrived from Asheville that afternoon for a visit, and I thought they would enjoy getting to see our little ones come in and peck around at their food and water for a while. I meant to come back and turn off the light after closing up the rest of the barn, but of course it completely slipped my mind. Until 1:03 a.m.
Most of our 9 chickens are still only 8-10 weeks old, and--being the mother that I am--I have been fretting a bit as they've transitioned from life at the hatchery. Are they eating enough? Does Zebra Zuzu (the Delaware pullet) have a cold? Is Captain Haddock (the Dominique cockerel) getting hen pecked? Are they warm enough at night? And now, I thought, I've traumatized the poor things by depriving them of a good night's sleep on the coldest night we've had this season.
I was soon back home settling into bed, and telling my long-suffering husband "I knew I'd left the light on" (i.e., "I'm so glad I didn't listen to your nay-saying"). He didn't answer, so I assumed he was irritated and just wanted me to shut up and sleep. But after a few minutes it began to dawn on me that he wasn't in the bed at all. I called softly into the bathroom. No answer. I peeked in. He wasn't there. I went down the hall to check the girls' bathroom. No one there either. A few minutes later I found him standing outside the front door, shivering with cold and much less happy than the chickens. He had come to make sure I was fine, and while he'd gone around the back of the house, I'd come back around the front and locked him out in the cold!
Not surprisingly, neither of us got much more sleep that night than the chickens did. Fortunately, young chickens seemed to handle sleep deprivation much better than middle-aged humans.
Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens
(by Jack Prelutsky)
Last night I dreamed of chickens,
there were chickens everywhere,
they were standing on my stomach,
they were nesting in my hair,
they were pecking at my pillow,
they were hopping on my head,
they were ruffling up their feathers
as they raced about my bed.
They were on the chairs and tables,
they were on the chandeliers,
they were roosting in the corners,
they were clucking in my ears,
there were chickens, chickens, chickens
for as far as I could see . . .
when I woke today, I noticed
there were eggs on top of me.