Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Love Hurts

It is altogether possible to love a chicken too much.  Here's how.

Backyard chickens are outside pets.  To be such, they must live outdoors in the wind, rain, and freezing temperatures.  I am sure this is why they grow feathers, and most definitely why I built the Chicken Hilton.  But you see, from where I stand in my warm house gazing out at that dark coop, I still worry.  Tis the season for cold nights and frost and extra blankets.   So, last night as I was tucking my girls in for the evening, I decided it was high-time for a heat lamp.  You know, just to take the edge off.  I clamped it onto one end of the roost, and trotted back to the house feeling much happier about the well-being of my girls and certain that they were all out there thanking me for their improved lot in life.

Call it a hunch or mother's intuition, but I decided - rather fortuitously - to pay them one more visit before turning in for the night.  There they all sat, happily roosted, basking in the glow of the infrared bulb and looking like they were on summer vacation.  I was just imagining them all in little chicken bikinis when I realized that something was not right with one of my girls.  She was a feathered mess.  I panicked, yanked her out of her warm slumber, and ran her to the patio where my husband and I gave her a once over in the light.  Something had gotten her.  I just knew it.  It looked like her back and tail feathers had been ripped out leaving her soft downy bottom layer all exposed.  She seemed annoyed, but otherwise fine, and we could find no other evidence of foul play.  A total chicken mystery.  Slowly, the truth donned on my husband.  After he picked himself up off the ground where he almost died from a fit of laughter, he pointed out the painful truth:


And so I did.  

No more warm lights.  Just dry, fluffy straw, a clean perch...and maybe a mint for their little pillows.


  1. Christy, that is really very funny, although I am sorry for the poor chicken that just couldn't help herself. "Here dear (says one of the chickens), huddle up a little bit closer to the fire and warm up." "Umm dear (says the other chicken), your backside seems to be on fire!"

    We have a light in the coop for our chickens but I have it suspended up pretty high. Just trying to keep their egg production going strong. Are yours laying eggs yet?

  2. So funny, and in our case, oh so true! I need to get a light mounted. Our abbreviated days are coming, and my girls are not yet laying. The last thing I want is them putting it off until spring just because they think the days are too short! Do you leave yours on through the night?

  3. "Fowl play", indeed! That's hilarious!

  4. Too funny...

    My husband built our coop with light sockets installed - at my urging. We have the lights on a timer so the hens get 12 hours of "light". I persuaded Dave to install a light on the outside too, so I wouldn't slip & trip in the muck when collecting eggs in the dark after work. Dave thinks we have chicken hilton, too. His classic comment is "Those eggs aren't free, you know."

    In the winter here in the north country, we put in a red heat bulb mounted in a shield. It's mounted on the ceiling. ~And don't forget the heater for their water -- if it's needed.

  5. Shirley, one day I hope to have a bigger coop and so many more girls to love! How many do you have? Does the red heat bulb count as "light" for extending your days or is it too dim? I am hoping to get something mounted soon.

    Those eggs are definitely NOT free, but they'll be oh so good and good for us, huh? Besides, chickens are so fun and entertaining. I may just be humoring myself, but I think it is totally worth it!

  6. I agree - the eggs are outstanding. It is hard to eat grocery store eggs now that we have been eating fresh eggs for so long. We have fun naming them too. I am keeping some for Debby and she has a light brown/gold one we call Chicken Nugget. Then there is Soccer Ball, Black Mustang, Boxy (cause she is the same color as a cardboard box), Snowball and others. The kids (as you can guess) come up with these prize winning names. I haven't told Tom yet but I was to get some chicks this spring and add them to the flock!


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