I love my friendly Salt Spring community, and the lovely people I have met right in my own neighborhood. There are so many fantastic folks, and the way we all pitch in to help each other really makes for a satisfying community experience.
That is why, after meeting some new-to-me neighbours on our street, I was more than happy to offer to pop in and feed their cat while they were away for the weekend. To make sure I was familiar with the specifics for this little kitty, I stopped by their home one day before they left to get the run down. I got all the info about taking care of the cat, and was asked if I would also be comfortable closing the backyard chickens in their coop for the night, and refilling their food and water dishes. Of course I said I had no problem with this, and was somewhat excited to see what the chickens with all about. My hubby and I had been toying with the idea of getting our own chickens since moving to our little chicken-happy island, and it would be interesting for me to care for these feathered fowl for an evening.
When the arranged evening came, I plodded down the road to take care of all the critter business. When I entered the property, the chickens immediately came towards me as close as they could in their pen, squawking an enthusiastic “Who are you? What are you doing here? Do you have anything for us?” I thought this was pretty cool, not being used to having chickens around, and headed inside to take care of the cat.
After some food, water and a lot of happily received pets for Mr. (or Miss?) Kitty, I headed back outside to fulfill my chicken duties. This is where my easy-peasy caretaking job hit a fairly major snag.
As I approached the chicken coop, I thought through what I had to do. First off, I would have to reach into the coop to refill their feed and remove the water container to refill that as well. Then I would need to open the chicken wire door and close the coop door securely to make sure no rascally raccoons would feast on chicken for a late night snack. It was at this point that I realized something fairly big that I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of until then.
I happen to be terrified of birds.
All that flapping and pecking, those sharp beaks and gangly, clawed feet, and the horrifying way they flutter about. They always find a way of whizzing right by your head and making you feel like your under attack. Ugh. I’m getting the heebie-geebies just thinking about it. Any winged-creatures freak me out, actually. Butterflies, bees, the common house fly. I had a terrifying experience when I saw a cockroach for the first time, stood above it and found out that cockroaches fly, making me scream, fall and flail all over the parking lot I happened to be in at the time. It wasn’t pretty.
So as I am standing there, looking in at the chickens who are all hanging out next to their feed and water, giving me the evil eye and practically uttering threats to take me down if I so much as put a finger on the wire that separates my shaking body from their feathered abode, I decide a quick chat is in order.
“Hey there, chickens. Nice place you’ve got here. So, um, I need to just get in here a little bit. You like food? Water? Right? If I reach in there, you’re not going to peck my eyes out, right? If you could just step away from the bowls and go lay in your nests, that would be really cool.” Nope. No luck. I guess I need to brush up on my chicken-ese. Instead of moving away, I was getting a death glare, and was quite certain that those beady little eyes were just waiting for me to make a move so they could tear into me with all the flapping and pecking they could muster.
After a few minutes of standing there with my heart a thump-thumping, wishing for go-go-gadget arms (which would obviously be impervious to chicken damage), I decided to get the heck out of there and call in the troops.
Thank goodness for my mister agreeing to do the chicken chores, or I may not be here today to tell you of my tales, ladies and gentlemen. That brave, brave man has saved me, yet again.
I’m pretty sure we can all agree that there will be no chicken keeping on my property anytime soon. I think I’ll stick to getting my eggs from the farm stands.