True Confessions of a CF*s Wife

Feb 18, 2022 | 1 comment

Nyel and Little Red Last Summer

*Chicken Farmer

Much as I hate to admit it, I have recently realized that my chicken duties as the wife of Farmer Nyel have become tiresome, burdensome and some other things, as well.  I place no blame on the Farmer and only a little on the chickens.  Mostly, it’s the time of year and the weather.

Between the autumnal and vernal equinoxes — roughly September 21st to March 21st — when daylight hours are diminished, my  chicken duties come at impossible times — during the busy part of my morning and (would you believe) right during the evening cocktail hour.  If I don’t forget one or the other, I can assure you that my mood is never enhanced by remembering.  Not a good attitude for the wife of a Chicken Farmer who, through no fault of his own, has had to give up his chicken duties.  Especially when it’s raining and his wheelchair tends to mire down in the sog.

Slutvana and LRH Wait On the East Porch

I do succumb to pressure (chicken pressure) and let the girls out to “free range” if the forecast is for under 10% rain.  Not always reliable, but I do feel guilty and they ALWAYS want out of their quarters — even if  a bit reluctantly during those snowy days.

The other part about letting them out is the habit they developed of hanging out on the east porch, waiting for Farmer Nyel to open the door and give them meal worms and other treats.  Nyel (or so he says) felt sorry that I periodically had to brave the sop and bluster and hose off that porch where the chickens waited patiently (and to no avail) day after day.

“They’ll forget about the treats if I don’t show up,” he assured me.  That was before Christmas.  And still they arrive each mid-morning (that I let them out) and there they sit until the cocktail hour…  Which brings me back to Jackie Polzin and her book brood in which she states that chickens have no memory and that by the time a snowflake hits the ground from on high, chickens have forgotten that it’s snowing.  I’m here to tell you  (and Farmer Nyel) that Little Red Hen and Slutvana have remembered for months (at least two) that Farmer Nyel brings treats to the east porch if they wait long enough and leave enough calling cards.

In April 2019

And, finally… it’s the no eggs business that puts me over the edge.  Since mid-May of 2020 when Snowwhite went toes up, the two remaining girls have produced fewer that two dozen  eggs between them and none at all since last July 21st.  They are probably just too old — each of them probably well beyond the five or six year average age for chicken productivity.  Realizing that they are old, as am I, just increases my feelings of guilt.  Perhaps I need to come to grips with the idea of a Long Term Care Facility for Chickens which is, after all, what we seem to have.

Bottom Line:  I’ll be glad when the days are longer and dryer and the girls can reunite with Farmer Nyel.  Then maybe the Chicken Farmer’s Wife will be less grumpy.

1 Comment

  1. Kristina Jones

    Beloved Cuz,

    You are my heroine! That you will even put up with chickens is a marvelous feat! And to top that off, that you have certain empathy for them is amazing! This is just to let you know that according to Virginia Williams Jones, “chickens make for much better eating than company.” I think that may have been just one more sour experience when we lived for 10 months on the farm in Willamette, and Kash was constantly pecked by recalcitrant chickens… after which, Mom laid down the law to Keith L. Jones… “it’s the farm or me”. He chose correctly! Love and respect, KK


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