Partridge in a Pear Tree

Well, not a a partridge, and not a pear tree. Peering out at the photographer: our not-as-stealth-as-they-think-they-are juvenile hens roosting in their new favorite tree: a sapote.  They’re not laying eggs yet, but have finally taken to launching into the trees at night to guard against predator attacks. Baby chicks don’t roost, so we know we’re halfway to eggs when a young hen starts to fly at night.

True story: back in the day when I was married and living in the suburbs of San Clemente and commuting to the family farm…I raised our chickens against city ordinance law right there in San Clemente and then brought them; squawking and clucking to the farm when I (inevitably) was issued a San Clemente “chicken ticket.” The kids couldn’t bare to leave the cute babies at the farm all week, only seeing them on the weekends, and I truly have always enjoyed raising baby chicks. Even today, so many years later, I  get such a kick out of watching their antics. Often a quick feeding turns into a chicken sojourn as I sit under a tree of their enclosure and watch them enjoy life.

So, I’d pick up just hatched babies at the SC post office, and raise them in one of way too many bathrooms in that house that always felt more like a hotel  than a home. No, I did not fit in, demographically, as chickens and toddlers romped in my enclosed front yard, during the day, and then we’d go through the drill, of herding the babies into a crate that I’d put in a bathroom at night. As they got a little larger, the crate wouldn’t do, and so I chose an enclosed shower to keep them in at night. In the early days, I had no idea how chickens developed, and so went through quite a panic when one morning I discovered two dozen half grown chickens missing from the shower floor. (the call to my then-husband to admit that two dozen pooping chickens had gone missing in his house did nothing to ameliorate the growing distance between us;)  As it turned out, had I just looked UP, I’d have discovered the chickens peering down wondering what all the fuss was about. They had all discovered THAT very day, that they could fly, enmasse, and were roosting on the top of the shower’s expansive glass shower enclosure.

Despite the four acres our home was situated on, someone offended by our outlier activities  eventually complained each and every time I raised a new flock over the years, and the City of San Clemente would dutifully send out an “enforcer” to come pay a visit with yet another chicken ticket that my ex would use as demonstrable proof I was nuts. And so,
the new flock would be moved to the farm.

Still got chickens. Still may be nuts.

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