I have loud kids. The boys could probably be hired by the National Weather Service to replace tornado sirens in at least three states. We function within ridiculous decibels here. But even so, even this Mama knows the difference between I-just-wanna-make-noise...and the scream of serious distress.
A few days ago we finished our coop. Because we finished ahead of schedule, we were able to pick up our hens earlier than we planned. It was an exciting day for MamaTea, Iggy and Ooky. Brownie Ba-Gawk, the rescued rooster, was quite pleased as well. Who wouldn't be among a harem of women like this?
We all worked together to finish up the chickens outdoor fenced yard so they could have a little...shall we say "breathing room" after their introductions to each other.
(FYI - We fully intend to free range these cluckers and allow them to roam the property during the daytime, after which they will obediently return to the coop for a little shut-in shut eye. However, I'm not sure how obedient you can be when you're not even sure where home is, so for now, they play in the coop or the fenced yard.)
Anyhoo, once their outdoor pen was all buttoned up, we let the clucks out to play. And play they did - what a lovely time they had. Those dust baths are a hoot to watch, but not easy to get a picture of. ;)
Hubster and I had a few loose ends to tie up in the barn so we left the boys in the fenced yard with the chickens (at their request) with explicit instructions not to harass the chickens.
Yah, ok mom. We'll be fine.
I believed them.
Into the barn Hubster and I went, only to be brought back out a couple minutes later by the bloodcurdling scream of an Ookster. You know, not the I-wanna-hear-myself-make-noise kind of scream. No, this was that one scream where you know something is wrong.
What I imagined was happening as I hightailed my way back to the chicken yard was that Ooky had got between a love-starved Brownie Ba-gawk and his hen of choice, and was currently getting his eyes pecked out of his head.
I rounded the corner, and three things happened in rapid succession:
1. I sighed in relief. He was not losing his eyeballs to a love-starved rooster.
2. I laughed. Ooky was crying and screaming (and crying! Sobbing uncontrollably!) and pointing because HIS beloved chicken, named just moments before as Isabella, had flown over the fence and was running a hundred thousand miles an hour towards the woods.
3. I said, "Shit", and realized it was my duty as MamaTea to catch this so called Isabella who had proven in the half day we'd owned her that she was a complete and total Sass. (First S in that last word is optional, by the way.)
To make a very long story shorter, we did end up catching Isabella. And then we had to catch her again about ten minutes later when she flew out. Again. And then we had to catch her sister Teacup who flew out as well.
Cripes. This was not what I envisioned in my peaceful chicken daydreams. No, I'm pretty sure there was nothing anywhere in there about not-to-be-contained chickens, and the sobbing school aged boys who were in hysterics over the possibility Mom and Dad could not catch them.
Needless to say, it wasn't long before we hatched a plan to counteract this constant chicken chasing.
The very next day we got ahold of some deer netting and fashioned ourselves a roof for the chickens fenced yard. Because we are so cheap and didn't want to buy one that would fit a 14x14 yard, it required MamaTea and Hubster to roll out a 100' by 7'piece of said deer neeting and cut/sew/weave together into a piece that would suit our purposes.
Did I mention it was windy?
And 30 degrees?
Another thing that generally happened in my peaceful chicken daydreams was that when the chickens did arrive, Iggy and Ooky would be more than willing to help with whatever needed to be done, keeping a fantastic attitude and learning scads of information from this real-life adventure in the process.
Ask me how that's working out for me. ;)
Oh well, at least Hubster and I got some quality alone time together.
That netting is nice an' tight!!
But it was all ok in the end (four hours after we started the netted roof) because when everyone was happy and safe and feeling loved (chickens included), we got rewarded with this:
Life is good. ;)