I wake up at dawn and the sky is a vibrant purple. The sun rises higher and higher before my eyes as I head out to the chicken coop. Henrietta greets me at the door with a squawk, her orange-red wings flapping up dust and straw. I sprinkle ground corn into the tin pans on the floor of the coop while 20 chickens startle in unison at my every move. They make this sound like an almost squawk, like they’re revving up their motors for a race.
I sprinkle ground oyster shells into the feed as a supplement to harden the eggs. I read online last summer that tomatoes get blossom rot from a lack of calcium in the soil and discovered those same oyster shells work as a supplement to soil too.
It’s peaceful in the coop. The chickens don’t expect much from me. I lift the water can and it’s heavy, plenty of water to get through the day. I grab a cardboard box from the shelf outside the coop and methodically, I approach each hen box looking for a prize. Eighteen eggs today, someone didn’t lay. Of course, I don’t expect an egg from Willy the rooster. He has no purpose here except to protect his brood and he is mean enough.
Eggs collected, I head to the house to wash their shells. They are large and brown and perfect…
I don’t have any chickens. I wish I did and I wish they laid 20 eggs every day so I could take them to the food pantry to give to families who need them. I daydream about chickens. Is that weird?