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Chicken Stories!

Tomorrow I am going on the “Take a Peak Chicken Coop Tour”.  It is a self-guided tour and there are almost 40 coops in the Colorado Springs area to choose to see.  I love chickens, had them while growing up, but can’t have them now because one of my neighbors doesn’t like animals, and that means I can’t have them because he will protest…..and one protest means you can’t have them. I saw a “stealth chicken coop” that looked like a child’s play fort which I considered making, but then, my kids are grown and gone, so why would I have a child’s play fort?  I have offered to share the eggs, but he won’t budge.  No Chickens.

My family raised “chooks” for about 10 years along with a couple of pigs and some Black Angus cows.  We had a variable number of them, because my dad would get mad at them for scratching in his organic garden, especially in the spring, and kill a few.  (They made lovely dinners.) We had a few favorites amongst the rest and those are the ones I remember best.

Mrs. Yellow was a yellow hen and a lovely mother. She had one failing though… We had a small grape arbor and never did anything with the grapes, so they would fall off the vines and rot.  Every year, Mrs. Yellow would wait until the grapes had fallen and were rotten and then she would eat them.  I swear they made her drunk.  She staggered when she walked back to the coop at night.

Brussels was a yellow and black hen and she got attacked by a fox who managed to bite her on the back before my parents came running out and scared it off.  My mom sewed her back up with a needle and thread.  She recovered nicely and lived a long and happy life.

We had a Barred Plymouth Rock/Banty cross rooster whose name was Little Peep.  He was the friendliest rooster I have ever known.  He would court my mom and I….drag his wing in circles around us.  He never did that for my brothers or my dad. He came to us via a friend who had chickens and this little rooster was getting beaten up by the other rooster, so we took him. He was our first chicken and we didn’t have hens.  He was miserable for a bit, then somehow discovered that down the road a mile away, were some hens that didn’t have a rooster, so he walked there……every day….past a house that had a German Shorthair who was trained to hunt birds. After the day was done, he walked home again.  The bird-dog never got him. Eventually we took pity on him and got him his own hens.

Once, during a really bad blizzard, we went to the barn to feed the animals and found Little Peep almost frozen to death.  He had fallen in Curley’s (the pig) water trough. We picked him up and ran back to the house.  Mom turned the oven on low and stuck him inside.  Pretty soon there was crowing coming from the oven….:) He lived in the house the rest of the blizzard and we paper-trained him in that time.  He was an amazing little creature.

My brother raised about 50 chickens once for his 4H project.  We had a big coop that was on the property with a big run and that was where those chickens lived. The small family-owned chickens lived in the barn in the old dairy. He had one rooster who was called Early.  Early was a mean-spirited rooster.  He was the exact opposite of Little Peep. He seemed to go out of his way to attack you.  One Sunday I was late getting into the car for church because I had to feed my brother’s 4H chickens.  That rooster had chased me and flown up at me and scared me to death.  I was wearing my church clothes too! When I finally got into the car, covered in hay, I got yelled at for being late. I defended myself, “How would you like to be attacked by a 40 pound chicken?” Everyone laughed. Luckily the 4H project came to an end shortly thereafter.

This same brother was something of a pyro. He could set anything on fire. Most of the time it was the wood in the fireplace or getting a campfire started, but once he set the big chicken coop on fire. it was before the 4H project and it was a fine morning and the hens were all free-ranging down around the big coop.  He got them into the coop and then lit matches to “see how the chickens would react.”  They reacted by doing nothing, so he got bored and left.  At that time all 3 of us kids were working at a raspberry farm near our house, picking the berries. About 11, just before we were to take our lunch break, we heard sirens.  Everyone rushed to see where they were.  They seemed to be coming from our house.  My brother went white, and rushed out of the field and ran home as fast as he could and tried to help the firemen put out the fire in the…you guessed it…big chicken coop.  It didn’t do much damage as the firemen were called early enough, but he didn’t play with fire again for quite a while.

Anyway, I hope to have some fun tomorrow and hear some new chicken stories.

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