Okay guys, I failed at urban farming.
When I tell you all the story of my farming failure, I want you to know that it's okay to laugh. While all of this was happening, I assure you, I did not laugh. I cried, lots and lots of tears. But now that I look back on the past year, its almost like I have to laugh because it's so tragic.
We all know that I was terrified of the chickens, this was no secret. The larger they got, the more I was convinced they were trying to kill me. The other not so great thing about our attempt at raising chickens was that ours would not roost. The refused to go up into their little home at the end of the day. They were happy to be up there if we physically placed them there. But left to their own devices, they said thanks but no thanks.
Now, combine that with my fear of the chickens? If my husband wasn't home to place them in their "roost" I was fine to let them sleep on the ground. I was not about to open that cage of death and climb in there to get them. I attempted this one time, and one time only. There was lots of screaming, lots of feathers flying. And in the end, we all went our separate ways.
Fast forward a few months, it's now August and we leave for a week to go on vacation in Florida. We are responsible pet owners, we had three people looking in on the chickens, the dogs, the cats, and the fish. Where are the goats? That's yet another sob story for a different day.
We get a call about four days in to let us know that the dogs got out. Now, when I say they got out, let me make something clear. The dogs scaled a steel fence. This was not something they had ever done before, nor was it something we thought possible. They then proceeded to break into the chicken area, fight their way into the locked chicken coop. And kill the chickens. They did not eat them, they just played with them rougher than the chickens could handle. I like to point this out because my dogs are sweet and I don't want the world thinking of them as monsters with their mouths full of feathers and foam.
Like I said, the chickens were in a separate yard, surrounded by eight foot custom fencing and their coop was locked. It must have taken my dogs quite a while to get all of this accomplished. The chickens had to have seen it coming, possibly sensed some danger? And maybe I'm an asshole for saying this, but if those damn chickens would have gone into their roost, they'd still be alive.
We decided not to tell my daughter that her beloved chickens had passed on because her beloved dogs murder them. She's six, and we didn't think that was a story she needed to hear. We felt no guilt about that parent lie.
What we did start to feel a little odd about was the fact that our child did not once ask where the chickens were when we got home. It was like she had simply forgotten we even had chickens. So. We kind of just let it go. We thought, hey she's not asking, lets not tell her.
Fast forward another few months. She casually mentions something about the chickens as she's walking by their enclosure for the five hundredth time since they passed away in August. I jump on that opportunity, thinking, okay its been months she obviously doesn't give two shits about these chickens we thought she adored, she'll be fine.
Our conversation went as follows;
Me: Stoli, I need to tell you something about the chickens.
Me: They, um, they flew away.
Stoli: Mom, chickens don't fly.
Me: *shit* Well, um, ours did. They were special chickens and when we were in Florida they decided they wanted to be free. And they flew away to live in the wild.
Stoli: *immediately starts sobbing hysterically*
I consoled her, to an extent. She didn't mention the chickens for months. MONTHS PEOPLE. Then she dried her eyes and asked if we could get more chickens. By that point it was like October, so I told her you couldn't buy chickens in the winter. Yep. I lied, again. I'm that parent.
Fast forward to the present.
We have chickens coming to our local feed store in March. We're going to try again. And we're going to make sure these guys know how to roost.
Tune in next week for my tearjerker of a post about the goats.