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Natural Perspectives: Checking in our chickens

September 08, 2010|By Vic Leipzig and Lou Murray
  • Chicken Little (left) and Henny Penny (right) gobble up fresh sorrel leaves while Henrietta (back) waits her turn.
Chicken Little (left) and Henny Penny (right) gobble… (HB Independent )

The most common question that Vic and I get about our columns is "How are the chickens doing?" We thought it was time for an update.

You may remember that we put a coffee table in the enclosed chicken run a few months back. Yes, our hens have furniture. They have a solar light too, just in case they're afraid of the dark. And there's artwork hanging on the chicken coop itself, but the hangings are located on the outside where we see them.

The little coffee table that we put in the coop was one that my father made out of plywood back in the mid-1950s. When my mother moved to Huntington Beach in the late 1990s, she brought it with her to hold plants on her balcony. After she passed away, the table came to rest on our deck. Over the years, the elements have not been kind to that little table.

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The chickens have been even less kind to it. They spill their water from their two watering containers on it and they poop on it. The little coffee table began deteriorating badly. With my limited home repair and decorating skills, I decided that what the table needed was a tablecloth. I wanted a waterproof tablecloth that I could just hose down. That's pretty much the extent of my housekeeping skill as well.

Fortunately or not, Vic and I are both clutter hoarders. We hate throwing things out because someday we might need it. I'm trying to overcome that tendency but haven't been real successful. I had a thick, circular, black plastic sheet that had been the pond liner for our long-defunct patio pond. I had kept it by the side of the house for several years, thinking that I might find a use for it. No use had occurred to me, and I had finally tossed it into the recycle bin. That was the week that I decided that the chickens needed a waterproof tablecloth.

I rooted around in the blue bin and fished out the plastic sheet. It was dirty and seemed to have been permanently creased from having been folded for several years. Reasoning that heat would help unfold it, I hosed it off on both sides and draped it over a birdbath so the sun could soften it. The chickens watched with great fascination. Or maybe they were bored. It's really hard to tell with chickens.

After the plastic liner had dried, I removed the coffee table from the coop, cleaned it off and draped the plastic over it to let the sun's heat help mold the plastic to the shape of the table. The chickens watched it all. And that's how I left things for the evening.

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