...in five days or less. I'm afraid PETA is about to come after us.
(Now, I could let on that we really WENT to a Chicken & Egg Festival to see chickens and eggs, but the truth of the matter is that we went to hear
Paul Thorn. Who has nothing to do with chickens OR eggs but is one HELL of a musician.)
While we were wandering around waiting on the music to begin, we ran into some old friends and stopped to talk. The Nice Kid wandered off and next thing I know, here she comes...talking a mile a minute and all excited THERE'S A GUY SELLING CHICKENS! Baby chickens! (You think?) And can she pleasepleasepleaseplease have one? Please? Because our first two (who actually WERE really cool chickens...pets who liked to be stroked and fed treats) have died, and the next two disappeared. So PLEASE MAMA? Pleasepleasepleaseplease?
"Two," I said. "Go pick out two." The joke of the day? "He cut me a deal!" She spent the rest of the night with a box holding TEN very young chickens under her coat so they'd stay warm. We came home and found a light and put them in a box. And went to bed...TNK sleeping on the couch next to them to make sure things went okay.
Method #1 for chicken homicide: Bring the smallest chick to sleep with you. When you roll over in the night? He slips down in the cushions and suffocates. Dead baby chicks are VERY small.
We had a funeral for that one. Buried him. Lamented being so careless. The next night? The next smallest chicken starts...suffering. Nothing wrong with him, but his legs stopped working and TNK picked him up and cuddled him and held him while he died. #2 Failure to thrive. It happens.
That one just went into trash.
Two days later? Failure to thrive, victim #2. We're down to seven chicks and I'm beginning to wonder just what the HELL I'm going to with 20 pounds of chick feed. Maybe the cockatiel eats it?
Seven chicks. Lookin' good. Growing like weeds. So...LET'S TAKE THEM OUTSIDE! To enjoy the sunshine and the breeze and peck at the grass. Good idea...nice thought...except...they were in a collapsible pet carrier. And guess what an exuberant puppy and a lackadaisical basset mutt can do with a collapsible carrier? Guessed?
You're right! THEY COLLAPSED IT. Scattered chickens everywhere. Now in all fairness, they did not KILL those chickens...they played them to death. I realized this when I saw a dog pass the window, fling his head into the air and something small and helpless and fluffy go flying up from the ground. Into the air which...if you can't fly? Not the best mode of travel.
I screamed, we all hit the door and started searching.
Method #3? Schedule a playdate with the resident bullies. THAT'll thin out a flock!
The death toll was three. Two were dead when we found them and the third died shortly after. This was probably a good time to make a speech about responsibility and taking care of those who depend on you and thinking through an action but...I didn't. Pretty good chance TNK picked up on that herself.
So here we sit, with four healthy chicks. Eating well, growing, messing and raising a racket ALL damn night long. The PLAN is that we'll have fresh eggs, but that road is looking REALLY long. Really long. And I keep looking around and thinking, "I went to college for 16 years. HOW THE HELL DID I END UP HERE?"
And this is the MIDDLE kid! I've got to go through a whole 'nother set of growing experiences with the LITTLE one.
Thank you, God, for bourbon. I love my life.