Edith

Two days ago my sister and I went for a run. It was directly after a rain storm, so everything was saturated in color. We ran along the wide river that traces the bottom of the valley we call home. The sun was casting a gorgeous reflection on the water, and the air was cool after the downpour. It was just perfect.

After I got home I walked over to the chicken run to let them out (I had locked them up in anticipation of strong winds and lightning). I swung open the door, as usual, and began walking towards the house when Edith ran towards me. He has acted aggressive before, so this wasn’t all that unusual, but this time he didn’t stop. He flew up at me with his claws outstretched so I brought up my sneaker to deflect him. He pecked me through the fabric of the sneaker, landed, and flew up at me again, this time pecking my shin. He repeated this several times.

Eventually I ran away, already covered in bruises, scratches, and peck marks. I can’t describe how traumatizing, how upsetting, it is to have an animal you raised attack you. I felt like I had screwed up some how. What happened to him? A month ago he was sleeping on my lap while I pet his feathers. Now he is attacking me like I am a dangerous predator. He won’t even go near me anymore.

I guess it’s just the rooster hormones coursing through him.

Anyways, what I wanted to tell you is that night I put an ad for him on CraigsList. This morning a guy named Brian called my father in response. Apparently he has a farm with fifteen hens, and wants a rooster to fertilize the eggs so they can hatch out chicks. I should be overjoyed. I know my parents are. But I just feel gross and sleazy, like I have given up on an animal that (up until this month) has shown me nothing but respect.

I keep thinking about all the time we’ve had together. In the winter, when his comb was frozen and he was shaking in pain, how I just held him in my arms and he calmed down. How I fed him food by hand when he was weak, and coaxed him to drink warm water. How I nursed him back to health again. The person I’m giving him to won’t spend that kind of time trying to help him. He has the heart of a farmer, something I wish I had, but sadly lack.

But then I walk outside and see the small pen we have him in, I see my hen’s featherless and raw backs from the over-mating. He needs more space, more hens.

I’m sure most of you don’t really “get” my sadness over this silly bird, a chicken no less. I know I sound overly dramatic, but it is really hard for an animal lover like me to do something like this. To entrust one of my pets to someone that I know will not take care of him in the same way I do.

Ugh, I hate this part of chicken-keeping.

Oh Edith, I’ll miss your crowing.

 Photo Jun 07, 7 47 44 PM Photo May 01, 2 15 21 PM Photo May 29, 8 05 45 PM

Training Myself To Not Worry About Feathered Creatures

I am sitting here, on my family’s leather couch, leaning over my lit computer screen biting my fingernails. Or what used to be my fingernails. In nine days I will be boarding a plane and flying to London, then Scotland, for almost three weeks. I am ecstatic that I get to go on this awesome vacation, an adventure that I am not likely to ever forget. I am so incredibly luck to get the opportunity to visit my aunt and uncle living over there, and cannot put my excitement into coherent words. AHhhhhhhhdhahahahahhagaaaaaaaaah!! That’s all that comes out, honestly.

But what I am worried about, surprise, surprise, is the chickens. It always comes back to them, doesn’t it?

The fact that I will be entrusting their care to someone else for three weeks terrifies me. My father is a very capable and responsible person, but he doesn’t know what sour crop is, or how to look for bumble foot, or what kind of worms cause diarrhea. He doesn’t know how to do the special call that brings them home every time they escape. Everything could go wrong.

You see, this attitude is why it’s a good thing I am leaving them for three weeks. Its borderline obsessive.

I just finished typing a six page guide to their care taking, even though I could tell him in six sentences. Six words, probably.

  1. Feed them
  2. Water them
  3. Clean their poop from the coop and run
  4. Make sure they aren’t eaten
  5. Make sure they aren’t acting weird
  6. If they’re acting weird call the vet

There you go. Six easy steps. I should probably just give him that list instead of the novel-in-progress I am creating in the next tab.

I must teach myself to set aside my fears and enjoy myself. I will. not. let. those little feathered creatures ruin my vacation.

Everything will be fine.

If I say that enough times, hopefully I will believe it.