I'm not going to talk about the fact that I've still not had this baby. I'm not going to talk about being 3 days overdue and how tired I am of waiting. I'm not going to talk about how much I wish things would just get moving. Nor will I speak of how none of the "sure ways to put yourself in labor" actually work. Nope, I'm just not going to talk about that.
Instead, I'll talk about the chickens. When we first put up the fence and let them out into the yard, we would just open the big coop door and prop it open. But, as the temperatures continue to go down, we decided we needed a way to let them out without letting all the warmer air out from the coop. There was already a small chicken door, but we had boarded it up to keep the cats out. Well, we (and by we, I mean Don) took the board off and instead put on a hinged ramp. He had to put a couple of strips of thin wood across it because at first the chickens just slid around on it. Once he did that, however, they were able to use it to get into the coop. So, now, we can let the ramp down in the morning and, to close them in at night, lift the ramp up & it covers the entrance.
Now, that brings me to the point of this post. (Finally, you are surely thinking.) Every evening, the kids and I have been going out to round up the chickens and herd them back into the coop. Usually, many of them are already inside, but there are always 20-25 outside. Caleb started yelling "hawk, hawk", thinking he could train them to run into the coop with those words. A good idea, for sure, but the chickens weren't catching on. Well, we would end up chasing them around the yard and in the process, scaring the daylights out of 2 or 3 of the most stubborn ones. I was thinking how unfortunate that was, because I certainly don't want the chickens to be fearful of us.
Well, last night, we didn't get a chance to go out until after dinner. It had already gotten very dark. And here is the kicker. Every one of those chickens had put themselves in for the night already. I just walked up and shut the ramp. I peeked in the windows and they were all sleeping. Talk about an easier and less stressful way to handle things!
My only concern is that if I have to wait until after dark to shut the door, I do risk letting the predators of the night have opportunity to get in before its shut. I'm sure it wouldn't be hard for a possum or raccoon to get over the fence. But, I guess that is just a risk we'll have to take for now. Eventually, we'll have some livestock guardian dogs out there to keep predators at bay.
So, anyway, I have now become a smarter chicken farmer. I can be taught. Really I can. What I can't do is seem to get this baby out. But, I'm not going to talk about that.