I have ornithophobia.
I freely admit that I suffer from an irrational fear that I will be attacked by a bird. I will spare you the details, but let’s just say a red-winged black bird that lived at the end of our road when I was a kid…well I have never been the same. So when my eldest son came home from a play date with a family who has chickens, I bought him a book and said, “NO.” (I do blame you, Amy Kinnell.)
That is when my life began to fill with chicken trivia. I started learning things such as – the nutritional value of fresh eggs laid by free range chickens. You can tell what color egg a chicken will lay based on the color of feathers in its ear flap. Iowa is the state that produces the most eggs and the differences between a Leghorn and a Rhode Island Red are significant. It has been endless. When we rented a home in Florida with a huge yard outside the city limits, it was fuel to the fire.
I am not sure when my heart started to soften….somewhere between Leghorn and Rhode Island, perhaps. Somehow the love for my son overrode my fear. What a mother will do!?
The best birthday gift ever came in the form of two free chickens and a grandpa who helped find scrap lumber and the time to help build a coop. Soccer Dude was so excited he had a hard time sleeping. I found him gazing out his bedroom window at the half constructed coop!
Saturday was the big day. We picked up the hens and settled them in to their new home. I must admit they don’t seem as menacing as I had imagined. They haven’t required much work so far and the kids have loved following them around the yard. There was a moment of panic when “Cluck” (the white Leghorn hen) spooked and took off towards the woods. The kids began to yell for me to come catch the bird. I folded my arms at the back door. My love doesn’t go that far. Big Girl deemed it a “chicken miracle” when Cluck made her way back to her roost. I am sure it was the grace of God knowing that I couldn’t handle a chicken chase!
So here they are. The newest members of the Williams Village, Cluck and Hongse (red in Chinese) who are supposed to give me fresh eggs, but somehow have become life long residence of our family with names of their own. We are not buying a book about goats. sigh.