Then there were 5: high stakes at Garbarino Acres

fly girls 1

This is the dumb chicken. The one that ventures too close to the dog (twice now), who doesn’t follow her girls and who let’s herself be picked up. She’s either the smartest one in the coop, or the one who’s clock is ticking the fastest. She’s yet nameless.  The threat of predators is so high, and the hermetic sealing of the coop so slack, that chances are,  we’ll lose at least one of these ladies before the summer is over. My bet is on this one.

Those words were written on Wednesday, before one of the girls got rag dolled by Rosie. And no, the above chicken, now named Charlie Chaplin, was not the victim here. She’s safe and sound and that’s probably why I didn’t completely lose my mind last night.

I was on the phone with Justine when Pia flatly stated that the dog had run out. Minutes later I would see a limp chicken in Rosie’s mouth. I dropped the phone and ordered that she “drop it” in hopes that maybe the chicken could survive? Maybe it wasn’t so bad?
Rosie stopped her jumping and stared me down with her bewildered animal eyes. Her instincts had taken over and she bolted in the field.
We would have to wait hours before either seeing Rosie or that chicken again. And like in a scene from a crazy movie, I saw Bruno striding in from the field, sunset behind him, chicken feet in one gloved hand, panting dog in the other.

Rosie? It was impossible for me to look at her without seething with rage. I had wasted 4 hours of my evening- that was suppose to be spent cleaning and preparing for my trip.

We googled, texted and uncomfortably discussed how we would dispose of the body. Seeing as it was now 10pm and the kids had fed themselves ice cream for dinner, I , unlike Bruno, thought it unwise to embark on a bleeding/plucking/butchering adventure.

We agreed that we would bury her. And so with a shovel and his work boots, Bruno dug his first grave.

I’ll leave the intended post here below, if anything this adventure solidified the fact that yes, all these animals to manage is more work, and yes it’s kind of insane, but at least it’s an insurance policy against boredom!

So, onwards:

Many of you know that I have a strong fear of birds, stemming from a childhood attack of the killer geese in the Jimmy’s parking lot in Knowlton, many many summers ago. Their motions are very reptilian and I just can’t get past their claws. Getting closer and closer to these ladies, I see a gentleness and daintiness that I had never witnessed before.

What do I love best about these particular girls? They need close to nothing and are seemingly happy. Every morning, we get 5 beautiful eggs that feed us. When we clean the coop,  we get droppings that will help feed the garden. For what? Open the door, close the door, two scoops of feed and change the water every 3 days.  When you buy them as layers, they are $12 a piece. As chicks, they’re $1 a pop.

In contrast, the dog we have, that cost us $350 to adopt and $400 to fix, needs antibiotics for an infection on her stitches.  Mainly because she broke her chain TWICE and went swimming in a stagnant pond, all the while wanting to be chased and dodging anyone who came near her. When the robbers broke in? NOTHING.

If I had to rate these animals on helpfulness?I’d more than fail rosie and give these girls a medal of honor.

On the other hand, if I had to rate them on capacity to cuddle, the chickens would fail, Rosie would get a B and the barn cats would get a parade in their honor. Those cats love to be cuddled, just not by 5 year olds, as the scratches down Pia’s chest reveal.

Back to the chickens.

So yeah, I knew I wanted chickens, but really only because I wanted eggs. But slowly I’m starting to appreciate them for more than their outcome. And Rosie? She’s sleeping at my feet and let’s Pia tie her ears up with scrunchies.


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