I am sure you are all aware of something called a Cattle Round-Up. But have you ever heard of a Chicken Round-Up?
I hadn’t either. But my boys explained it to me.
A Chicken Round-Up happens when you have been cooped up in your house for forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and it is finally a balmy 32 degrees out with a windchill of 28 on a sunny Saturday morning and your youngest throws open the front door and declares, “Today is one of those days that just feels like summer, don’t you think, Mama?”
And what do you say? Because it does. Because two days ago you woke up and it was NEGATIVE nine degrees air temperature.
The snow begins melting and you can see that under the piles of snow that you have been surrounded by since Thanksgiving there really are green things growing in the dirt. Under the snow.
And hope springs new again.
Well, the boys were sure the chickens would love to get out and experience the summery day so they creaked open the chicken gate door that hasn’t been moved in many many months.
Nineteen hens slowly ventured out.
There used to be an even twenty chickens. But Top Hat, our very old rooster, had given hope of spring ever arriving one below twenty day. He crawled into a hen nesting box, buried his head in a corner, and gave up. There were many tears. Even from S4 who has not liked Top Hat since he taunted him with worms for fishing and Top Hat chased him down for a worm. The boys figured out that with the temps being so cold Top Hat wouldn’t rot. It was a solemn procession that delivered him to the front door, setting him on a frozen pot that had once been home to a plant. Now all who visited us could feel the sadness of Top Hat’s passing and the boys could remember what a great rooster he had been for all these years.
I cannot make these things up.
I made them remove the dead rooster. They had told me they did and then we were leaving the house and I realized they had not so I sat in the driveway until they did in fact remove the rooster from the front porch.
My great regret is that I did not get this on camera to share with the world.
Anyhow, nineteen hens ventured out into the yard. The boys felt sure that they were shell shocked from the winter and kept herding them toward the thawing driveway.
And that’s when the plan came to them.
Using long sticks they began to herd the chickens toward the spring pasture, the winter pasture, the fall pasture and the summer pasture. I told the boys I was only interested in the summer pasture. Because, summer! Summer pasture ended up being under my kitchen window.
I am not sure what the chickies thought of being herded back and forth in the yard on their first day out of the coop but then again, they didn’t seem to mind much.
Chickens were picked up and hugged.
S4 came tromping into the house with his muddy winter boots. “See my boots, Mama? I got them all muddy. Now they look like cowboy boots. Cuz, you know, cowboy boots always have to be walked all through that cow poop and we didn’t have any cow poop so we just walked in a puddle of mud so it looked like poop. It looks real though, doesn’t it?”
Again, this is why I very rarely mop my floors.
The boys had a great time all afternoon running up and down the melted snow yard. They all should sleep well tonight – chickens and boys.
In fact, the only one who did not have a good day are Waylon and Hank, the kittens.
Hank did all he could do to usher the chickens into the house so he could play with them. But it did not work.
This wore poor Hank out so much that he gave up and went to bed. It’s rough being a kitten.