Once again the hens refused to leave the coop this morning. It’s been days, maybe even weeks, with the exception of one warm day, that they’ve been out of the coop. And I don’t like it. I mean, it was fine on those sub-zero days, the ground covered in snow and no sun in sight. But the past few days it’s been 30 degrees out and there’s patches of ground showing between the ice and snow. They should be outside.
And I don’t know if that’s true or not. I don’t know if they should really be outside, or if it’s normal for chickens to spend day after day in a 3″x 5″ coop in the winter, but as I said, I don’t like it. I know they’re chickens, but they must be getting a little bored. And if there’s one thing I don’t want to see is hens with Cabin Fever. I do know how chickens can be. Suddenly, my mind is filling with apocalyptic chicken images. Chickens don’t have to be Zombies to peck each other to death.
So this morning I stood outside the coop and made clucking noises. In the warm weather this gets them running to me no matter where they are in the yard. I thew the soggy remains of my breakfast (Round House Granola with blue berries and banana) on the ground outside the door to the coop and made more clucking noises. The gray hen poker her head out then retreated. “Come on hens,” I tried to control the frustration in my voice “there’s fresh fruit and gourmet granola out here.” They didn’t hear me, or weren’t listening or didn’t care. Images of Cabin Fevered Zombie Hens came back to me. I was sure the little white Leghorn would be the first to go. She wouldn’t have a chance against those two big bruisers. So I opened the big door at the back of the coop, reached in and gave them all a little nudge out the door.
Jon said maybe it’s good we don’t have kids. I’d be one of those mothers always telling them to go out and play. He thinks I’m a bit obsessed with the hens being in the coop. And he might be right, but I don’t really think he is. This afternoon the chickens are having a good time hanging out in the barn by the lawn mower, scratching at the dirt and doing what chickens were meant to do. And even if they don’t really need to get out of the coop, it can’t be bad for them, and well, it makes me feel better.