It's unusual to have any sun this spring, but here it is. My northeast-facing deck is so hot the dogs don't want to stay out more than ten minutes at a time. After that they drag themselves back through the dog door, panting and looking for shade. I led the chickens outside by sprinkling saltine crumbs, their favorite treat, on the ground. They stampeded throughtt he door, pecked up the crackers, and are now hovering in the two foot sqaure patch of shade near the south side of the chicken house. I worry about them there and have to keep checking. It's the most vulnerable place in the pen in terms of escape and I don't want to repeat the first few days after I contstucted it. I was constantly chasing chickens who didn't know me. Consequently, they darted here and there, just out of my grasp, until I thought I would scream. Now they would probably follow me back into the pen if they escaped, but I don't want to take the chance. Last week one of the Demeters (I can't tell the Rhode Island Reds apart so they both have the same name) got out, but when I saw her contententedly picking bugs out of the lawn I simply spoke to her and she went with me without resistence. I didn't even need to entice her with food.
The more I get to know chickens, the less I feel like eating chickens. They are nice little birds who have individual personalities, habits, and tastes. They connect with humans. It makes the obvious even more obvious: that no matter how far down the evolutionary ladder you go we are not very different from one another. It seems almost canibalistic to eat them, and abhorrent to treat them the way we do. I've seen the people from whom I bought the chickens grab them from an overcrowded pen by a wing or a leg and throw them head first into a sack as if they were turnips.
Don't get me started.
p.s. Brinab, Carrie, Jesse, David, Thom, Don, Toni, Mike, and anyone else who might read this, would you mind leaving a comment so I'll know if there's somebody out there? Once is enough. If all you want to say is "Hi", that's fine.