It turns out, that leaving five chickens in the care of one’s brother, is a little like sending children to stay with the Grandparents. While we were traveling in Guatemala, my brother Chris managed to teach all five of the chickens – Cracker included – to fly right over their admittedly short fence and browse through the gardening section of my backyard like it was the free library of edible books and appetizer periodicals. Everything from the black eyed peas to the purple wandering jew have been razed by a shotgun blast of hen beaks. And every morning the posse-of-five-non-egg- laying-hens ventures farther towards the front of the yard, where luckily there is little to entice them to continue on foraging. If they keep this up though, I fear they will meet a fate far worse than their dear beloved Chewbacca, what with all the stray dogs in the neighborhood…
During our time away, this five hen posse has also taken to roosting on the table, the chimenea, the fence between my house and my neighbor’s, and even the top of my neighbor’s camper. Since returning it has become an evening ritual to pickup the slumbering chickens from their roost of choice (usually the fence nowadays) and carefully plop them back onto the roof of the chicken house, where if it is late enough they will remain until the following morning.
I suppose this is mainly for my own state of mind rather than for their safety or pleasure, though I don’t for a second really believe that they have the best sense for either of those two aims. Having been slow to fully recover from the intestinal fun house I brought back from Guatemala (indeed, it is the trip that keeps on giving), I have also been a bit slow to pursue any remedy for my wandering chickens/plant life demolition crew. Having made the (I like to think of it as a moral) decision to not clip their wings as it would leave them much less able to avoid predators (which technically could include me), I am left with finding some way to either protect my plants from imminent chicken invasion or a way to keep them from leaving their more than ample allotted chicken space at the back of my yard. I am open to suggestions, so please post them in the comments section below.
All in all I am quite happy to be back in the desert in time for the spectacular display of monsoon rains, thunder and lightening. After the traveling Guatemalan fiasco, it turns out that life at home and work is much less stressful than making health related decisions on the fly in some random Guatemalan town with a whole range of ailments between the four of us.