Friday, October 28, 2011

Chicken Rustlers?

There are days when my husband and I are so in sync with each other that we need no words.  And then there are...  other days.  Yesterday was one of the...  other kind.
A little history:  We have three chickens in a small coop in the backyard.  (It's actually based on Heather Bullard's Chez Poulet, though not nearly so over-the-top fancy.  Mine was built before Heather started selling actual plans.)  They're nearly 4 years old - one Barred Rock, one Silver Spangled Hamburg, and one Golden Penciled Hamburg.  Only the Rock is currently laying any eggs.
Last night, I got home from work, grabbed a bite to eat, walked the eldest through her homework, and chivied both girls into the tub.  As I ran back and forth around the house, I noticed that the outside lights were on in the back of the house and the back door was unlocked.  So I corrected both.  A few short moments later that was a loud pounding on the door.  I opened it to find my (very annoyed) husband.
"Why in the *@#&$^ did you turn the lights off on me?"
Whoops, hadn't known he was out there.  A few minutes later he came in, laughing.
"For a little while there, I thought we'd been hit by Chicken Rustlers!"

I tell you the tale now, as he told it to me...

First, John closed the door on the front of the main coop, to shut the chickens in for the night.  As usual, once it had gotten dark they had gone inside of their own accord to roost.  Then, he went around to the other side and opened the door on the back of the nest boxes to check for eggs.  No eggs.  That's a little bit odd, as there is usually an egg.
But then again, it's fall.  As the daylight hours decrease, so does egg production.  He shrugged, and looked through the boxes at the chickens.  Well, chicken.  Only one of the girls was on the roost bar!  Concerned, he went around to the side of the coop and opened up the main door that gives access to clean out the coop and change feed and water.  Still only one girl on the roost bar!
Now, it was entirely possible that he had not noticed the other two girls outside the coop in their little yard when he closed the little chicken door.   He went back around to check.  At which point, naturally, I turned out the lights on him.  Several minutes pass while he rectified that problem and also grabbed a flashlight and went back to check.  Nope, no chickens.
It was at this point that John actually began to worry that we'd been struck by Chicken Rustlers.  Very bad Chicken Rustlers, who had seized two elderly hens that don't lay eggs.  One final time, he opened up the main coop and checked.  For the first time... he looked up.  And there, sleeping peacefully, were the Hamburgs.
Apparently there are no Chicken Rustlers in our neck of the woods.  Or at least they're smart enough to actually steal useful chickens.
I'll post updates this spring on the Chicken situation, as I intend to get some French Marans chicks.   Hopefully the rustlers won't steal them, either.

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