Physically moving them of course. Chickens can’t be moved emotionally. Then again, that might be a very narrow-minded view on my part. I will make attempts in the future to sing arias to chickens and see what happens. At the present time, I am talking about your basic physical movement.
I made my way out to Martha’s Vineyard to visit a friend living out between Edgartown and West Tisbury. As opposed to my simple city porch farm, he is far more serious about gaining post-apocalyptic life skills. He just happens to call it going local. When we first met he had started a decent sized garden and over the summer had a pretty successful season. He has now moved from lettuce and tomatoes to ducks and pigs. A part of me aspires to this. I was so impressed when my plants began to give me food that the idea of having a pet that when you come home says, “hey, while you were at work, I made eggs,” would be amazing. For now though, I have a landlord and neighbors and for some reason Cambridge doesn’t seem like a great place to put out a chicken coop. So, upon my arrival I was asked whether I wanted to go feed the pig, move some chickens and then head out for drinks. The clear answer to this was yes, I do want to do a couple light farm tasks, feel close to the land, and then have a beer and talk like an old farm hand.
We threw down some compost for the pig, scratched behind his ear and talked about bacon. This is perhaps a bit perverse, but it’s like reading to babies, as long as you say it in a nice calming tone, they don’t know what you are saying. Also, if you look at it in a different way, pigs are yummy in a way that seems to welcome you to eat them. On the flip side, bitter greens are fighting with every evolutionary muscle that they have to be unappetizing and yet the cruel vegetarian, armed with cream dressing, insists on consuming. After the pig, we drove over to a nearby farm to pick up some chickens he had purchased. I asked what would be required of me and was told that I would basically grab a chicken and put it in that box in the back of the truck.
Chickens are really quite ridiculous. I feel like they are always saying one line, “oh my god.” They just repeat this at different levels of alarm. They were in their coops and we needed to go in, grab them and move them. Walking into the coop, I was unclear about what they would do when I tried to make a grab. I have no qualms with touching a chicken, but I was guessing that they didn’t want to be picked up and didn’t know what their defense mechanisms would be. Trying to put a cat into a cat carrier to bring it to the vet can leave you bleeding and defeated with your cat embedded deep under your bed. Trying to grab a chicken results in a slow chase in which you will be stooped over in an undignified manner ready to grab. If you lose your balance you might kneel in something unappealing. I grabbed though, and once I got the wings under control I was fine. We were now done with a long hard half hour of farm work and went to reward ourselves with drinking.
Another life skill for our post apocalyptic world learned. Check. Go here for pictures of chickens, the vineyard, and a clam bake.