Stuart left for the airport at 5am. It was the chooks second morning here and my first morning of letting them out. I dosed until daybreak, dreaming about the chooks running up and down our street dodging cars. I woke with a start hearing strangulated clucks – oh god, the chooks! What’s wrong with the chooks?! It was a few seconds before I realised the strangulated clucks were instead a magpie screeching.
I forced myself up, fuming. Why do I do this to myself? It’s hard enough having three children! Why do I need to worry about three chooks as well? But as I walked into the kitchen I saw two little boys in their dressing gowns sitting on the window seat looking out the window. Their little heads were so still; there was no talking.
‘Good morning’ I said as I switched the kettle on.
‘Hi mum’, replied Ned not turning around.
‘What are you looking at?’ I asked.
‘We’re waiting for the chickens to get up’, Louis said.
That’s right, I had to go and open the coop. Lifting the roof, I saw the three of them perched and fast asleep. The sound they made was a cross between a purr and a hum. It was soft and content. I opened the doors of the coop and walked away.
The boys didn’t leave their post. The girls didn’t attempt to leave their perch. We all ate breakfast watching and waiting for the chooks to appear. Lily finally appeared rubbing her eyes. School lunches were packed. Uniforms were found. There was a lost sock search and still the chooks slept.
Stuart sent a text from Melbourne: ‘Has everyone woken up ok? How are the chooks this morning?’
It was 8.30am. ‘They must really be tired after their adventures last night’ said Ned shaking his head, packing his schoolbag.
‘Let’s give them some lettuce’, I suggested.
We could hear the quiet clucks – Clucky already at the door of the hutch wide awake. She came out for the lettuce and wandered around the run; the one chook who hadn’t attempted an escape. Axy soon followed her.
While awake, Chippy refused to budge off her perch. She still looked tired.
Poor Chippy. Four jumps over the gate was obviously more taxing than she expected. But would that be enough to keep her wings by her side for evermore?!