Happy Peeps

May 29, 2011

Chicken Scratch

So I have 3 new chickens!  Yes, 17 chickens less than six months old weren't enough; I had to order 3 more. I rationalized this because we had recently "sent away" 5 Cornish Rocks for "processing" (trying to be politcally correct here, but it's impossible; I could just as well be Sarah Palin smiling in front of the turkey slaughter, according to my office mates). I also rationalized adding to my brood because I knew that we would be sending away the two ducks, and at least two, if not three, roosters. Plus, I just like acquiring things so it was inevitable that a few chickens would begat a few more. Just ask my boyfriend about my shoes. But I digress.

As it turned out, the three new chicks arrived at a fairly inconvenient time for me. I was expecting them on a Wednesday last week, so on Tuesday morning, I dutifully called the post office to let them know they should be expecting a package of living, peeping, warm fuzzies.  It went something like this:  "Hi, this is Judy ______, I live on "B" Road, and I"......at which point I was excitedly interrupted by the postal worker, exclaiming in a rather loud, but not unfriendly, voice, "Oh! JUDY!!!  (Do I know you?) Your chicks are here! They sound so cute!  They're peeping in their little box, are you coming to pick them up?" (Head turns around 3 times) Wha-wha-wha-what!????  "They weren't supposed to be here today! I'm so sorryOh my gosh, I can't get them, I'm at work, and we have a site visit today!" (A very important person was determining the fate of our medical institution's accreditation (not that the postal worker, or the chicks, would understand.)  I highly doubt my office-mates (or boss, for that matter), would be pleased with me excusing myself from an occasion which happens once every 5 years, because of a chicken delivery. It just doesn't compute with them.

I was the only person in the office at the time; office staff were coming and going , trying to meet the site visitor's every demand. I was pretty much the only person in the office who wasn't involved directly, but working, nonetheless, and 'minding the shop.'  I couldn't leave! It would be a half hour drive to pick them up, another 20 minutes to take them home and set them up, and another half hour to get back. I was doomed. Worse yet, the CHICKS were doomed.  I was sure they were going to die, and it would be all my fault.

Then I remembered that my friend Cathy was on vacation (at home) all week. Maybe she would pick them up and watch them for me until I could get home?  I have only a few friends who would agree to do this, but the chances of any of them being off on THE week they were delivered...well let's just say serendipity had something to do with it.  Cathy loves chickens too!  She was the perfect choice, the ONLY choice.

An hour later and several phone calls later between me, Cathy, Cathy's assistant, my boyfriend, Cathy's husband Bruce, and my postal worker, and the plan was hatched. Cathy would pick up the chicks on her way back from working with her master gardeners, doing whatever it is master gardeners do on vacation. She sounded thrilled to be chosen, and I was so happy that a chicken lover was available.

Two hours later, I had a voicemail message, "I have your chi-icks, and they are so cuuuute!!  They look hungry though; Bruce wants to know if they can have Cheerios."  I called her back pronto and was reassured that she had not allowed Bruce to throw cheerios in (not that two-day old chicks would have known what to make of them necessarily); but they had been given water and kept warm all afternoon and were awaiting momma hen's return home from the office.

Cathy dropped the chicks off to me, along with a white lilac bush that she had kindly picked up for me. The chicks were very healthy and Cathy had placed an old t-shirt of Bruce's in the box for them which they seemed to like. Not sure if it was the 100% cotton, or Bruce's scent, that they found so alluring. Cathy might know. Anyway, I told her one of the chicks was either going to be named after her (for saving them from spending the day in the post office with no water and no food) or she could name one. It was decided:  the buff chantecler, who was blonde like my friend, would be "Cathy" forevermore.

The other two are silver-laced wyandottes -- mostly black with stripes right now, but they will be a lovely black with a beautiful lacy pattern when they grow up.

I have great friends!

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