My girls (not those girls) have been relegated to a more confined area. It’s time to let my yard get back to green, tidy up the decks, and plant a garden. All of these things are of small moment to a chicken, or, in my case, a bunch of chickens.
I call them my little velociraptors. Spell check is telling me that’s not a word. But, it explains the attitude and behavior of my girls perfectly. They are single-minded in purpose, kinda cute but watch your ankles, and very hard to catch if they know you are trying.
Rex is my eldest, the last one of the original batch from 2009. Chickens have a natural life span of 7 – 8 years according to some sources; but, all of Rex’s kindred have been long gone. I suspect programmed obsolescence.
I know that the poor species has been mangled genetically to please the eating preferences of humans here in the west. I’ve seen the results in truckloads of small cages, barely room to move, certainly not to stand up (if they could with all that front heavy breast meat) going to slaughter. Both I and my husband cried for those poor creatures in the other lane driving through Salem toward I-5.
We love our girls – even when they are tearing up our yard in the winter, even when they attack our legs for what ever chicken thought is rattling around in their tiny minds. They are beautiful and colorful roaming the tall grass at the edge of our property; they can be sweet and funny especially riding the shovel as I dig up a few worms for their treat, and they give us the most lovely, rich-yolked eggs.
Rex is the statistical outlier. She is the queen of the roost and when she goes there will be more tears. She is having a good life and, even when she stops laying eggs, she will be fed and loved for herself. I wish all of our chickens had her genes. But, the chick industry would go bust. What ever they do to mangle chicken genetics so that the girls will drop dead for no good reason in less than 2 years to keep the dollars rolling in is shameful and evil. No surprise I guess. So, at this house, we will save as many as we have room for and allow them the opportunity to have a good life – however long it might be.