Thursday, January 3, 2013

How I Got to Be Two Goats Away From Crazy

My sisters Maribeth and Jennifer, along with my two nieces and nephew, paid our family a visit after we started our adventure in raising chickens. Everyone was enthralled with my built-in petting zoo, especially the kids who were all under seven years of age. Each day, the kids would chase around our ten week old baby chickens and discover some of their free-range hiding spots. One afternoon of some particularly fun times of chicken hide and seek, we ran inside to get some lemonade when disaster struck.

We were inside no more than five minutes, but that was plenty of time. A neighborhood fox had managed to kill eight chickens in very short order. Foxes, we learned after this incident, are surplus killers. That means they kill everything in sight, eat what they want now, and come back later for the leftovers. The kids were devastated. I made the mistake of naming a couple chickens after my nieces, Gigi and Ella, and of course they were among the missing.

Being a quick-thinking chicken raiser, I went to Craigslist and looked up where I could get some chickens - stat. Craigslist is a surprisingly good source of finding small farm animals.I wanted to replace that bad ju-ju with some nice memories of getting new chickens. I decided that I wanted some that were already laying as I was getting impatient to taste some fresh eggs. My remaining baby chickens had at least ten more weeks to go before laying. I figured that my kids along with my nieces and nephews would enjoy getting the eggs out of nest boxes.

The next day we headed over to a home in Wilton, CT where the Craigslist ad said I could find some Red Cross chickens that were already laying. Bingo! We drove up to a beautiful Colonial home with an amazing blue stone swimming pool. Behind the pristine pool area, however, was an absolute mess. A former playground set with a tree house had turned into a chicken coop. There was also a stall in back that had two dairy goats. There were at least 100 chickens running amok in this enclosed space.

As the woman who raised these animals began to wrangle the six chickens were were purchasing, the kids asked her if they could pet the goats. After getting her permission, my nephew took off his Crocs and ran directly into the goat barn, promptly getting goat poop all over his feet. The kid was named Ella and my niece went up and kissed her namesake goat square on the lips. Ew. My son was chasing the 100 chickens all over the enclosure. Squawking ensued. The adults had clearly lost control of the situation.

Finally, we gathered the children, washed the poop off Daniel's feet, gave my son Patrick's hands a quick wipe down and rinsed out Ella's mouth. My sisters and I carried a chicken under each arm and walked back to the car. I waited until I was out of earshot of the woman who sold us the chickens and said to my sister Maribeth, "Please shoot me if I ever get this crazy with the whole farm thing. Please, promise: YOU WILL SHOOT ME." Maribeth was quiet for just a moment before she smirked and looked me dead in the eye, "Colleen, you are exactly two goats away from crazy."

Shocked by the reality of what my sister said, I simply said nothing and popped the chickens into the card board box to take them home. During the course of the fifteen minute ride home, the "new" chicken Ella layed an egg and my road to crazy resumed once again.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful story! And I'm with Ella -- I have to fight the urge to kiss our Pygora goat LaLa...but not on the lips. :)