There are no April showers in Southern California, so back in the years B.C. (Before Chickens) I gave hardly a notice to the passage from “winter” (a euphemism where I live) to spring.
But then life went to the birds, and I discovered seasons! By the end of January and certainly February, the extra slivers of light at the beginning and ending of the day begin to add up. And light is the go signal for a hen to lay eggs. You couldn’t possibly know this if your eggs come from the grocery, from factory chickens who are subjected to long hours of artificial light to coax maximum egg production.
But here in the coop, spring is celebrated daily with lots of chatter, squabbling over nest boxes and an abundance of eggs. So many that we’ve been giving them away every day to friends and neighbors with still some to spare. I even pressed a six-pack onto our computer repair guy the other day, who was only too happy to take them off my hands. There is nothing like a fresh egg!
And yes, that is a green egg, courtesy of our Easter Egger, June. She has become quite the layer, now that she’s grown:
So my coop runneth over, with eggs and also with chicken love. Those of us who tend a flock know the fulsome pleasures that come with it. The girls are so beautiful, in their admittedly dinosaur-ish way.
A morning among them can be meditative, like an animated Zen garden, as the hens scratch methodically in the dirt.
It is comical, as they scold me for whatever perceived injustice has befallen them.
It is sweet, as they rush to follow the CE or cluster like a feathery bouquet at the door to await me. You may be surprised to learn that chickens recognize their flock keepers. Depending on their level of familiarity with you, you will be greeted with affectionate clucks, wary caution or a wide berth and perhaps fearful squawking, especially if you are a toddler who delights in seeing a chicken run away. They are not as bird-brained as you might think.
I suppose you could say there is a certain amount of drudgery involved with the keeping of chickens. But at the end of each day, as dusk falls and the girls have thumped their way up to their roosting bars in the coop (Pippa on her shelf, Bossy Nugget on the upper roost bar, Bella, June and Ava squeezed together by one window and Ginger in solitude by the other) I cannot resist the urge to step inside and bid them goodnight. They murmur their acknowledgement that I have indeed been fortunate to pass another day in their presence.
Like many of the precious mysteries of life, I cannot explain chicken love. But it is real.