The chickens are here. They arrived at 7 am today in a metal crate. A. and C. watched spellbound as we transferred them into their new home, The Chicken House (an ingenious rolling chicken condo–complete with sunroof, nesting boxes, and egg-gathering flap–which T. designed and built over the past month).
The chickens are pullets (young females), reddish with small pinky combs (a hybrid breed, part Rhode Island Red). They came by tractor trailer from Pennsylvania and will make the adjustment to being free-ranging Vermont girls who will peck potato bugs out of our garden. In a few weeks, we hope, the six of them will lay six eggs a day. It’s time I finally learned how to make good omelets, frittatas, puddings, and custards. I can already do scrambled, boiled, and fried, of course, and T. discovered how to microwave an egg for C. by putting a little butter in a small bowl and nuking it for a minute. This technique makes me queasy for some reason, but C. loves it. But the chickens may open up a new frontier in our cooking.
Forget Max and Ruby videos. Forget the Petting Farm. The chickens are our new entertainment. Both girls sat on top of The Chicken House for ages, watching them through the sun-roof plexi-glass. A. also fed them grass, dandelions and violets through their chicken-wire side window. The chickens huddled together in the hay at first, then began to spread out and investigate their new home while making soft clucking sounds. I can’t remember if chickens are smart or dumb animals (dumb, I fear), but there is something likable about their coos and their halting movements. Count another six girls added to our household for a total of 11 females.
T. and Nomar the cat (neutered) are still the only men around.