Driving Miss Swifer: That Damn Hen Is Makin’ Trouble AGAIN!

Fall is in full swing in Northern Ontario.  It’s a great time for the family to head up to the cottage for a relaxing weekend and enjoy the colors of the changing leaves, cool crisp nights by the wood stove and some hearty comfort foods.  So off we went, beloved wife, dutiful son, non-egg eating daughter, protector dog and……..of course,…….the chickens.  If you are new to following City boy Hens, you may not be aware that we take the chickens to the cottage.  There’s no better way to get the freshest of eggs for a Sunday morning brunch!  Besides…….they too, according to my daughter,  have become part of our family!009 - Copy

For the most part, the hens are no trouble to take to the cottage.  They travel well in their homemade crate and generally rest during the 3 hour trip……….that is until…………….last weekend.039


That weekend started out like every other weekend at the cottage.  The trip up North was uneventful and the hens spent their weekend roaming around the cottage property or down by the beach.

Running Down To The Beach.

Heading Down To The Beach.

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010When it was time to pack up on Sunday, I found Swiffer my herself behind the chicken ark in the run.  Generally, the 3 hens are inseparable, but I didn’t  give this too much thought as I picked her up and put her in the crate with Honda and Rosie.  After “buckling” them in, we headed South for the return trip home.

The drive was going along smoothly as beloved wife and myself shared some casual conversation until I heard a piercing scream from endearing daughter!

“Oh my God………..Swiffer laid an egg!……….AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH…………It’s splattred everywhere.    Holy $#!*…..Some of it got on my leg……….Oh my God……..they’re eating it!   Oh….this is sooooooo gross!”  Mom………I’m gonna’ puke!!!!!!!!  Dad…pull over RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!…….

  It turns out that Swiffer had, once again, managed to create pandemonium by just…… being Swiffer!  I guess it’s really not her fault.  It looks like she too is going to be following Honda’s lead and begin molting shortly.  As I learnt a few weeks ago, soft-shelled and crinkled eggs are generally a good sign that a hen will begin molting.

“Alright Swiffer, I just gotta’ know……….why’d you have to lay that “softie” in the van?  Couldn’t you have laid it in the coop like you do every morning?…………. Come on Swiffer…..ANSWER ME!……………Ok……don’t want to talk???????………..Hey Swiffer…….., look over to your right.  See that truck beside us?  Take a look at what’s in the back!  Yes, you are right…those are chickens, but they aren’t coming back home from the cottage like you.  They’re goin’ to visit the bad man called The Butcher!”111

On second thought, maybe I was a bit too hard on poor Miss Swiffer.   Maybe I scared her a bit too much because this soft-shelled, crinkled Ping-Pong ball was what she left me  the following morning.  “Ok Swiffer……I was just jokin’.  There really isn’t a bad man called The Butcher!………..Well…….there really isn’t one………… at least RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!”002


Don’t You Take Your Chickens On VACATION?

“Ok, lets load ’em up.  Honda And Swiffer….You know the routine.   Help Rosie along and make sure that she doesn’t get the spot beside Stanley.002  OK….everyone , stop fighting over the window seat.  Everyone strapped in?   Okay……lets head NORTH!”

The chickens are coming up to the cottage with us for the first time this season.  For Rosie, it will be a brand new experience because she wasn’t a member of City Boy Hens last summer.  Maybe it’s a brand new experience for the veterans as well.  I’m not sure what level of memory retention can be had when you only have a brain the size of a cashew nut.

So into the van we all went.  Wife, son, son’s friend, daughter, dog, 3 chickens and myself.027

The upside to bringing the chickens to the cottage is that I’ll have something to write about for  the blog and we will continue to enjoy farm fresh eggs at the cottage.  The down side is that 5 people and one dog, crammed into tight quarters with 3 chickens who are known for frequent defecation, may not be the best recipe for a pleasant 3 hour  drive on a humid evening.  It’s not too bad for my wife and myself because the chickens will be positioned behind our seats and our windows will be WIDE OPEN.  For the kids…it’s another matter.

Those rear windows in a mini van are not designed to roll down.  All that you can get in terms of ventilation is a slightly cracked window that only opens up an inch from the side.  I’m sure it’s a safety feature, but the person who designed this van was definitely not thinking of the possibility that MAYBE someone some day might want to transport a few chickens to the cottage in this vehicle!

In order to help with the poop volume, I tried something different this year.  I intentionally withheld feed for 3 hours prior to  our cottage departure.  I read in a post by a chicken vet that it takes 3 hours for food to move from beak to butt in a chicken.  My girls must be Olympic gold medal contenders because, when we  stopped halfway through our journey for refreshments, I was met with numerous demands from the “rear passengers”  to pick out the chicken turds in the bottom of the cage.  Okay…we’re not talking a dozen or so…..just 3-4 turds.   Boy…those city kids!

Are We Almost There?

Are We Almost There?

Are We.......Almost....There.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Are We…….Almost….There…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Anyways, transportation was successful and the chickens hunkered down in their cottage ark for the night.004

The following morning, I was up bright and early to let the girls out of the Ark into their pen.  There was no way I was letting anyone out for some free ranging until there were 3 eggs in the nest box.  If you’ve followed me before, you may remember  that Swiffer has taken  to sometimes laying her eggs in the backyard.   Here at the cottage, there is almost an acre of land for the chickens to roam and there’s no way that I’m looking over the entire property for an egg!  But, much to my surprise, nestled tightly together,  were 3 warm eggs in the nest box.044  The chickens just looked at me as if to say “Well…..what else did you expect?”. I’m not sure, but I think I heard someone say “Ok…..now can we finally get out and head down to the beach and explore????????????”072