Poultry Palace


My initial foray into poultry ownership started years ago when I was still married and living in the suburbs of Orange County and commuting to my little  hobby (then) farm an hour away. The day I got an early morning call from the post office I had just announced to the world I wasn't feeling well and had flopped back gratefully into my book-covered bed when the phone rang. It was the San Clemente Post Office telling me my baby geese and baby chickens had been delivered and to certainly come get them NOW. Since poultry ownership is against the law here in the suburbs, that may have been a first for them. The post office was filled with their definitive chirps. I mumbled something about taking them to my farm an hour away, and off my excited 7 year old and I went to prepare their temporary home. 

I wasn't expecting  them until the next day, when the hatchery said they would arrive without fail. I didn't have a brooder, waterers, or anything really ready. That was on my list for today. Where to put the cats? No way am I going to try to train Rudy and Cairo not to eat baby geese and chickens.  Guido, my precious doberman, was off at an Arizona training camp learning how to be a gentleman. We eventually trained him not to eat anything fluffy, but his education didn't come cheaply. Anyway, I'm not sure you can train cats  not to eat chirping, feathery fluff balls. Thank goodness the feed store had goose food the day before when I’d stopped by. Chick feed is a snap, but baby goose food is another thing altogether. At least I had food! We needed waterers, food containers, and bedding.  I raced around figuring out how to increase the temperature of their cardboard pens to 90 degrees. (Kids' 2-fixture lamp post, unscrewed in half; tied with wrapping paper ribbon to top of dog kennel through 4 holes I drilled right then. If I sound capable, let it be known I couldn't figure out how to get the *&^% battery out of the socket for the drill, nor could I get the bit I chose out of the stupid case. My stalwart partner who had his cigarette smoking, coffee drinking, porch-sitting morning disrupted on account of I'm too feeble to get out of bed is HUGELY happy to help me with all this. I had what could be called a necessity-born instantaneous healing which I'm afraid has served to undermine the veracity of future requests.


Anyway, after everyone went off to do their thing that morning, the house became quiet accept for the sweet chirping of 15 baby chicks and 4 goslings. There really was a no-livestock in the house rule, but my then-husband, who wasn't fully up to speed on the chicken-goose deal here, just glazed his eyes over and went to work. No comments there. He'd learned to wake up from a nap to find a llama in the living room and just roll over. Occasionally he’d mumble something about his stupid life and how nobody else has to deal with stuff like this, but I think he secretly enjoyed complaining about me. His buddies may complain about their ex-wives’ shopping habits (ho hum), but he gets to pipe in, "well, I had a rooster crowing IN MY HOUSE every time I got up in the middle of the night and turned the light on to pee. Top that." I  recall arguing that plenty of people keep parrots indoors, and a pet chicken wasn't that different. It wasn’t long after that he built a beautiful (outdoor) chicken house. No more creatures in the house! Accept for 2 cats, a dog, 15 baby chicks, 4 goslings and a fish.