Ned came running up to me as he left the classroom after the bell went. With his huge smile and arms outstretched I felt touched that he was so pleased to see me on a Monday afternoon.
‘Yay! I’ve been waiting all day to get home and see the chickens!’
Ok, so not so much about me...
‘Oh yeah,’ said Lily absent-mindedly, ‘I forgot all about the chickens.’
As we walked home, Louis and I told them about the chooks’ day. A bit of scratching, a lot of eating was all that seemed to happen.
The kids gave them some vege scraps and we all got on with the afternoon. When Stuart came home, we stood in the garden watching the ‘girls’ thinking how easy it all was.
I went to pilates at 6pm and once home I noticed the side gate had chicken wire all over it. Strange. I was pretty sure it wasn’t there before I left.
I walked into the kitchen to find Stuart making dinner. ‘Why is there chicken wire on the side gate?’
He stopped stirring, looked at me and smiled. ‘It seems our chooks aren’t as docile as you thought. Chippy is quite the escape artist actually and Axy enjoys copying him.’
Hang on, which one was Chippy again?
‘Four times he jumped over the fence’, Stuart continued, with slightly too much glee I felt. ‘Don’t worry they didn’t go far and then tried to get back into the run through the wire.’
‘We might have to get their wings clipped,’ I said over dinner, still surprised that they had flown the coop. The breeder said he’d only ever had to clip one chook’s wings it was so unusual.
Stuart nodded. ‘Yeah, I was thinking I’d have to do that.’
Hang on. Surely not...
‘It’s not that hard. I’m sure I could find out how on the internet.’
Oh no. This could be a disaster. As much as he is amazing at many things, fixing things is not one of them. In this house, shelves have fallen down, as have pictures off walls. While putting together the flat-pack chicken coop, he split the wood and broke the roof.
‘I think we should go back to the breeder for that...’
‘Don’t you think I can do it?’ he looked surprised.
‘Maybe it was a one-off’ I said, ‘Let’s not worry about clipping any wings unless they try escaping again’.
I looked out into the quiet, dark garden hoping those chooks could sense what’s good for them.