CHICK CHALLENGE

It took a long time to convince the husband to become an owner, but these newly acquired barred rock chicks are doing well at their new home. It will require challenges, such as building a home other than this blue bin, and getting the dog to warm up to the snack-sized pets.



071313_hg_chickens

It took a long time to convince the husband to become an owner, but these newly acquired barred rock chicks are doing well at their new home. It will require challenges, such as building a home other than this blue bin, and getting the dog to warm up to the snack-sized pets.

Honestly, I probably shouldn’t be allowed to take care of another living thing after the 
Worm Disaster of 2013.

But I’ve been trying to convince hubby for years that backyard chickens are a good idea, and he finally caved. The fact that I just murdered thousands of worms was irrelevant at that point.

Maybe his moment of weakness came after eating mostly rice and beans for the 100 days of the 
Armageddon Pantry Challenge. Or maybe he was overcome with the stench of the decaying 
aforementioned worm disaster. But he finally said, “FINE!” after I mentioned, for the thousandth time I’m sure, that we should get chickens.

And as most spouses out there will acknowledge, an exclamation of, “FINE!” is the same as, “Absolutely! I totally agree with you and I should have said yes a long, long time ago, dear.”

All it takes is one “FINE!” The evidence is chirping and pecking away in a large plastic tub right now.

Now, I admit, I’m no chicken expert and I’m a little late to this backyard poultry party. The rage about backyard chickens has been going on for a few years now, but it took me that long to wear hubster down. See, he’s a city boy. Our arrangement is a bit of a reverse Green Acres situation. I honestly think he’d be more comfortable having a drive-by shooting or a chop shop next door than having small livestock. This is what happens when a Fruita girl marries a boy from Aurora.

When I first started trying to convince him that chickens are a good idea, I used the normal persuasive arguments. We could have our own farm-fresh eggs! They eat bugs! Their manure makes great compost! They’re amusing!

And he fired back with: We don’t have a farm, this is a subdivision! They’re gross! They’re messy! They poop everywhere! What are you going to do when they stop laying eggs, have a geriatric chicken rest home? Or will you actually (gasp!) kill them? And what about our dog, who will probably become a chicken-killing maniac?

I’d like to point out that after receiving our adorable fuzzy chicks, all those issues have been forgotten, except for one. And I think hubby has sufficiently bonded with the chicks, since I saw him playing with them on the lawn yesterday, talking to them, and cooing over his obvious favorite, Little Jerry (who we are really hoping is not a rooster, but is named in honor of Jerry Seinfeld). He even helped me bathe the chicks (more on that later).

As for the issue that has not been resolved, well, the dog is having some trouble adjusting to six new cute little snack-sized pets that compete for our attention. He’s painfully jealous, entirely too curious, and attempted to behead the first chick we introduced to him. I even tried using the “friends, not food,” speech from “Finding Nemo,” to no avail.

I suspect another problem is that chicks sound awfully similar to squeaky dog toys. And he’s a lab mix, which is just a recipe for trouble with birds.

Our next challenge is building a home for the chickens, the mini McMansion. I know you’re wondering what kind of person gets chickens without having a coop ready for them? In my defense, I had to seize the opportunity, since I think, “FINE!” has an expiration date of about two weeks. And a lovely new chicken friend was kind enough to include my chicky babies in her order from a local grower. So we’ll figure out the accommodations before the chickies morph into their awkward teenage chicken stage. I’ll keep you posted.

ON ANOTHER NOTE

Weeds can win you prizes this week! The second annual Grand Junction Weed Rodeo is from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 18-20 at the Mesa County Fair.

The first 75 people to bring one durable garbage bag full of weeds they pulled from their yards will receive free admission to the fair. You can also win prizes for learning about weeds and identifying them, such as gift cards to Bananas Fun Park, Dairy Queen, Famous Dave’s BBQ or Regal Movie Theater. Master gardeners will also be available at the Weed Rodeo booth to identify plants or weeds and offer advice on weed control. Organizers will not accept non-weed materials or trash, and they will be inspecting the weeds brought in to see what species are growing in residents’ yards.

Erin McIntyre is an advanced master gardener, writer and Grand Valley native. Please email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with story ideas or feedback.



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