Daily Prompt – Select one of your daily rituals and explain it to us: why do you do what you do? How did you come to adopt this ritual? What happens on days when you can’t perform it?Source: Daily Ritual
Walking the hens has become an evening ritual; at least, the hens think so. Peek out the kitchen window about dinner time and you’ll see Betty pacing to and fro, practically climbing the fence, anxious to be let out. Fanny and Penny stand back and look longingly toward the house. Poor things.
After dinner, after wine and the news I commune with the chickens. I serve them yogurt or spinach or some special treat. After treats they gather at the gate, expecting it to open.
“Okay,” I tell them, “but just for a little bit.”
Princess Granddaughter enjoyed our evening ritual too. We walk the hens all the way around the house.
Neighbors driving by may wonder about me. I don’t think they ever walk their chickens. I make it look like I’m just pulling weeds or watering the garden while the hens are out, but I’m keeping an eye on the biddies; watching for danger.
My henyard is plenty large for three hens, but the grass is greener and more plentiful on the other side and there are bugs and room to run and almost fly. It’s good for their mental health and well being.
Minimum standards are inadequate for my little flock. The henhouse and coop has been remodeled and dubbed the Taj MaHen House. Thanks to my husband, the builder and to Martha Kennedy for the great name. They have a new waterer, heated so it won’t freeze this winter. Yesterday I bought a large metal feeder at a yard sale for five bucks; a real, farm style feeder instead of the one I made from a wine box and duct tape. Mine worked fine, but it was small.
Betty (the black and white, barred rock) is a complainer, clucking all the time, but she’s stealthy silent when we go “outside”. She’s an avid hunter and gives it her all when she sees a grasshopper, running as fast as she can, almost flying. She’s the hardest one to round up too; defiant when it’s time to go in. She gives an egg almost every day.
Fanny still has a bare midriff. It’s going to be a cold winter for her if those feathers don’t come in soon. She’s not well dressed, but she’s a nice hen; a reliable layer. She’s the most daring too, having flown to heights the other hens never dreamed of. I see her sizing up the fence from various vantage points. She landed on my back when I was bent over, scooping poo.
Pretty Penny is the shy one, not comfortable out in the open. She often hangs back, hiding under the utility trailer while the other hens are exploring. She’s even leery of her shadow on the fence. Like Fanny, she’s a reliable egg layer. She tolerates being held better than the others.
There are only three hens now. Wilma wasn’t getting better, after her mystery illness. She quit laying pretty green eggs. She lost weight and became too weak to go on. I gave her a last meal of applesauce and handed her over to my henchman. She was my cuddly hen. C’est la vie.
So that’s my evening ritual; a relaxing little sundown stroll around the house with the hens.
Unless it rains.