It was raining, and our seventy-five chickens were in their fenced-in little yard, pecking around in the dirt outside the chicken house. “Get outside,” Mom ordered us. “Run those chickens in.”
Nobody wants to deal with muddy, wet, sad birds. Nobody. It’s just downright pitiful.
We ran outside. I was wearing a t-shirt, jean shorts, and flip-flops. (A word of caution to those who have never run chickens in in the rain: flip-flops, water, and chicken poo do not a good combination make. You can thank me for this later.)
My oldest sister Kellee went around to the back to get the chickens. I went to open up the door to the chicken house, and Lauren met us somewhere in the middle.
It was raining harder now, and the chickens were putting up a ruckus, like they always do when people are trying to boss them around. One second I was clapping my hands and shooing them onward toward dry ground, nutritious feed and protection, and the next minute I was laying on my back in green and brown chicken apostrophe-shaped turdlettes. On the ground. In the rain. In flip-flops.
Now . . . I’m not SURE that Lauren pushed me, but I do know that she was right behind me.
We may never know how it came to be that I "slipped" and "fell" (or as I like to think was "pushed" and "shoved") but it does seem curious that it would occur as she was bringing up the rear.
(Lauren, if your conscience is bothering you and you want to go ahead and confess, now would be the time.)
What I am absolutely certain of, however, was that she started giggling at me. There may have even been pointing involved.
But I'm not bitter. Not one bit. I mean, hey. I had chicken poo caked to the back of my legs. Feathers and grass were sticking to me. It looked like a dreamcatcher had exploded.
My sisters finished running the chickens inside while I continued to sit in the muck and cry . . . because that’s what youngest siblings do. We sit and cry and wait for someone to save us. It’s part of our genetic code.
Kel (or “Switzerland” because she’s always the neutral sister) helped me up. The rain rinsed some of the poo off by the time I got inside, but there were still streaks of Army green running down my legs. I'm not even sure my mom had any words other than, "Maybe we should start by rinsing with the hose . . ."
Years of therapy and journaling haven’t erased that nasty image. It’s still eerily vivid. But I don’t think that they can. And I’m not necessarily sure I want them too. After all, I’m the youngest. I’ve got to have something on my sisters that I can complain about to my mom. It’s what I was born to do.
So naturally, knowing all this, my farmer and I ordered chickens this week so that I can relive that same mucky, runny fun as an adult.
The chickens are going to be my responsibility. He has his hands full with cows so while he's setting up the fence and listening to me jabber about them, he's got bigger animals to deal with.
The chickens are . . . gulp . . . mine.
S what's on the list?
- Twenty jumbo Cornish X rocks for meat chickens
- Two Black Stars for laying
Want to know how much I know about chickens that lay eggs?
But we have to start somewhere. And by "somewhere" I mean that I called my dad and asked if a hen needed a rooster in order to be able to lay an egg.
Don't laugh. I was homeschooled.
And the final reason to order chickens? Lauren's coming to visit this summer, and this time? I'm ready for her.