For the past nine months, something has been not quite right. I've become accustomed to waking up every morning with a feeling that something is missing, and my world is somehow not complete. It's as though I'm somehow not quite fulfilling my purpose in the greater scheme of things. Chickens have been missing in my life. I'm a chicken keeper. That's what I do. Even living on the permaculture farm this Fall, with chickens over-running the property everywhere one looked; the familiar sounds were there, as well as the soothing sight of meditative foraging, but they were not MY chickens. I missed my chickens fiercely.
I've been picking away at setting up a coop and run on the farm where I now live since this Winter. It's been very slow going, resulting in prolonged pining away for poultry. Every time I went out to work on it, it seemed like the hours of work I put in looked like the smallest drop in the bucket. I was trying to piece together a solid run out of a mish-mash of re-purposed fencing materials over an old greenhouse frame. There was no quick about it.
Finally, I decided I would have chickens by my birthday. My friend came over a few afternoons to help frame in a front wall and door, and figure out some fencing interface between the coop and run (the coop was a bit too big to fit inside the run.) I made arrangements with my ex-partner to come out to the farm one evening at dusk and pick out my half of the flock. I ran myself right up to the edge of the deadline, stapling and cutting wire until late in the evening before heading out, but I got the run ready to keep chickens in, and the coop itself is solid. I still have some work to do so that predators can't get into the run, which gives me a little leeway around putting chickens in exactly at dusk, but that can be picked away at in the coming week.
The kids and I hauled home 12 hens and Paul Bunyan the Brahma rooster. I ended up with a mix of some Production Reds, Araucanas, a Speckled Sussex, a Golden Sex Link, a Brahma hen, a Bantam Frizzle, Henrietta the little black chicken, and Silkie the broody Bantam. We set them all in their new coop and went to bed tuckered out. It had been a day.
One after another, the hens ventured out of the coop into their new run.
I threw out a little scratch for them, and just sat back and enjoyed the happy noises of chickens eating grain.
Silkie and the Goldie were feeling a bit hesitant, but as soon as the other chickens headed over to the food, they threw caution to the wind and ran after them.
Watching my chickens enjoy breakfast in their new home made me one happy chicken lady. I felt a deep contentment, as though I had finally arrived somewhere in life and fully occupied it. My life is looking more and more like something resembling what I imagine and dream it ought to look like.
My life has chickens in it. As it should.