Tonight we brought the suburban ladies to their new home in the country. I've been dreading this move since the moment we broke ground on the house. Above all else, I despise causing undue stress to animals. It makes me hysterically upset in a way that's only understandable if you're a true animal person, meaning that, in times of peril (like a house fire) you'll grab your dog before your husband. Animal person. You know who you are. And you either are or you aren't one of these unique specimens. There's no gray area.
Being such a person, I've agonized over the danger I'm suddenly thrusting them into. The life of a suburban chicken is, after all, incredibly posh. Aside from the rogue raccoon or owl, few predators can reach them, and this is what's worried me the most. Am I immediately turning them into a meal by bringing them here? Would a chicken raised in the country have street smarts that my ladies do not inherently possess? Only time will tell. And, since they've been locked into their tiny, moveable coop for their first evening out here, time might start telling sooner than I'd like. Luckily, the move itself was quick and fairly painless, for me at least. The girls sat quietly in boxes during the transport, and Jer did all of the heavy lifting moving the chicken tractor onto the trailer and depositing it near the house. Someday there will be a glorious coop. But for now, this is enough.
Before moving them, I pulled six perfect eggs from their next box - a sure sign that spring has sprung. I brought them home (*from here on out, "home" is referencing the new place) tonight in the antique egg basket and rested it on the new counter. It's a small thing to rest an egg basket on a counter. Inconsequential, actually. But as I stepped away I realized that I'd imagined resting this very basket filled with eggs on this very counter for so very long. And there it was.
Those damn chickens are to blame for all of this. Those damn chickens and the animal person-ness that I can't get out of me. This weekend we brought home a box of peeps to start a new flock. A country flock. With street smarts. Tomorrow afternoon I bring home a rooster so that the flock will be better protected and self-sustaining. There will always be chickens on this farm. Seeing them stomp past windows, fluffing feathers and bickering means that I'm home. The new flock is a housewarming present to ourselves and the reward for making this happen regardless of the gentle nudges we received to just walk away and consider other options. To those folks: thank you for caring and listening. But there's some things that just won't wait.