They say that chickens always come home to roost. Now that the Duff family has chickens, I’ve found this to be literally true. In fact, one day, the coop door blew shut. When dusk came the chickens went to put themselves to bed and could not get in the coop.
Granted, chickens are painfully stupid. One time I saw one of the chickens trying to eat out of its feeder. The feeder was on the ground inside the coop, and the chicken was outside the coop. The chicken could see the food through the wire mesh and was only maybe 6 inches away from the feeder. She kept banging her head against the mesh trying to get at the feeder. The wide-open door to the coop was maybe 8 inches to her right and she could easily go around, but instead she kept pecking at the mesh and looking astonished that she couldn’t get all the way to the corn.
But back to the night in question. The chickens wanted to go home to roost, to their comfortable, familiar bed of straw plastered with chickenpoop, but the door had been blown shut by the wind and it occurred to none of them to nose (beak?) it open. So they did the best they could and flew to the top of the coop and huddled together as close to their normal nest as possible. That was where we found them when we went to lock up the coop against coyotes and foxes and other predators for the night.
Chickens, even chickens born and raised in America, don’t speak English, so we couldn’t just tell them the door was open now and they could go indoors. So we had to pick them all up individually and guide them inside.
I agreed to get the chickens only under the condition that I wouldn’t not be in charge of taking care of the chickens. I have enough responsibility. There are two children in my house, three if you count my husband, and a terrier-mutt, who is rather high-maintenance. Of course, my responsibility is about to go down some, along with some of my work force.
My son is, allegedly, going to college in the fall. It will no longer be his job to let the chickens out in the morning and lock up the coop in the evening. He is going to Rice University in Houston, Texas, which is an awfully long way from our house in Georgia. I’m really going to miss him. He’s excited to go, and frets mightily that his start might be delayed because of the pandemic. He’s a planner, that kid, and can’t bear the thought of not knowing what he is going to do three, six, or even nine months into the future. He is already considering which summer programs he will apply for after his freshman year.
I know what happened after I went to college. I didn’t come home much after that. There was so much world to explore. So many things to do, and so many opportunities. I don’t want to limit him at all. I just don’t know how I am going to protect him from coyotes and foxes and other predators when he is a thousand miles or more away from me.
I just want my chicken, now and again, to come home to roost.
 Named Frida, Vashti, Ramona, and Godzilla.
 Don’t ask me which one, I can’t tell them apart. The white one is Frida, and I think it is Vashti that doesn’t have a different colored head, but Ramona and Godzilla look like twins to me, though my kids swear they can tell the difference.
 By “we” I mean my son, while I laughed and took pictures of the whole operation.
 I mean, he was accepted and we paid the deposit, I say ‘allegedly’ because who knows what will be going on with coronapocalypse and whether he will be allowed to set foot on campus.
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