We picked up a new batch of chicks at the post office, and I felt like a celebrity. The elderly gentleman behind me in line exclaimed, “I haven’t seen that in years! We used to get our chickens off the train.” He smiled, then stood with his mouth agape. The woman behind him in line said, with a tone of authority, “Yes, more and more people are getting chickens now. I read about it.” She had apparently considered keeping them herself, and we stood out in the parking lot discussing hatcheries. While settling the box of chicks on top of my children’s laps in the truck, another car pulled up beside us, and its driver greeted us with enthusiasm usually reserved for old friends. He said he had kept chickens once, and took a peek at our fluffy birds before I excused myself, saying the baby chicks needed to go home and drink water.
To make room for the new chicks, the big chickens have moved into new digs. Our more mature birds are living out in what looks like the top of a covered wagon. The advantages of this are that we don’t have to rush to put them inside at twilight to keep them safe from predators, because an electric fence, which surrounds their yard, keeps them safe. They don’t have to wait for us to let them out in the morning either. They can go right out at the crack of dawn and start browsing for food, while we are still in bed.