Friday, April 27, 2007

It's That Time Again

The new little chickies are out mingling for a couple of hours a day in the big chickens' pen, but in order to let them have this bit of freedom one of us has to hang out down there with them to make sure they don't, well, fly the coop. So it's about time to get out the scissors and clip their wings. I have such mixed feelings about doing this, especially after the way some of our last chickens were killed by a dog. I know that if their wings hadn't been clipped, they could've flown up into the trees (I know this for sure because I saw two dogs chasing wild turkeys on our property and even the big ol' Tom turkey managed to hoist his body up into a tree in time to not be eaten).

I also hate taking away the freedom of flight that must be a wonderful part of being a bird. Maybe I think about this kind of thing way too much, but it makes me sad to remove their ability to lift above the earth just when they're discovering it for the first time. And I know that once I remove that from them, they won't even remember they have it. Our older chickens have molted and grown back their flight feathers, but they never fly anymore. I don't think know that they can.

On the other hand, we live in an urban environment, and it's a blessing at all to have the chickens. I don't want to aggravate the neighbors with chickens flying in to decimate their vegetable gardens, and I know that we're lucky to be able to keep them here at all since many other cities don't allow people to have chickens. So I'll go out with the scissors and feel a bit sad as I remove their flight feathers, and then probably feel relieved that I don't have to babysit the chickens and they can at least roam freely within their large pen.

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