July 3, 2014 – Tomorrow is Independence Day. It’s the finest summer celebration for humans and the worst day for chickens and other animals with even the least bit of vibration sensibilities. July 4th is circled in red on our calendar because we must be fully prepared for a town fireworks display that mimics a revolutionary battle over territory control; the thunderous booms, the illuminating sparks and whooshes and sizzles. It’s too much for little eyes and ears to endure! How are we supposed to lay eggs after putting up with an aerial attack?!
The good news is that we may have bought ourselves another day or two of prep time. The latest weather forecast calls for thunderstorms today and tomorrow which will push-off the scheduled pyrotechnics. The bad news is that there’s a hurricane attached to those warnings which opens up a completely different chapter in the Chicken Book of Safety Protocol. There are bunkers that need to be dug and cases of worms to be buried. Where am I going to stash my peanuts?! I have to make sure the babies in the brooder put on their little helmets and orange vests and that the garage is secure. I have to dig out the bullhorn because I’ll need it to have my voice heard over the raging winds. Hatches need to be battened down and I don’t even know what a hatch is!!
Tim knocked on my nest box. An emergency warning came across the radio waves with updated storm details. We may escape the wickedest of hurricane force winds but torrential downpours with thunder and lightning are still expected to hit and soon!
Time to spring into action! I dug out my rubber boots, rain suit and big fisherman’s hat. Tim said he would fill up the oil lamps while I call the flock together to go over what we need to do. The list seems endless. Someone needs to gather enough sunflower seeds, mealworms, scones and tea to carry us through the worst of the storm. We need to have sandbags at the ready in case we get flooding in our run. Everyone needs a project – a good book, knitting, crossword puzzles, and bead work, anything to keep the mind focused on safety and not on being cooped up inside for two days in July. We’ve heard the horror stories. An aggravated chicken can peck the eye out of a coopmate with nary a wince. It’s an unpleasant side of our species that we don’t like to talk about. We have never succumbed to that unrestrained behavior in our flock and we’re not about to under my watch!
“You know,” Tim said as he was lining up the oil lamps, “If this gets too bad, Mom’s going to bring us inside. I doubt we’ll be closed up for more than tonight.”
True enough, but one can never be too prepared. Which reminds me – I need to put my microscopic snowflake slides into the vault for safekeeping! Vault you say? Yes. It’s hidden under the floorboards in the shed. Only Sawyer, Charlotte and I know about it. It’s where we keep the important papers for the flock, our evacuation plan, extra cash, headlamps and an emergency ration of slugs. Contrary to what humans may think, we’re not merely hens. We are brilliant leaders; we are shrewd business owners, we are…poultry in motion.
Bring it on, Mother Nature!