Watering a chicken

Watering a chicken

Posted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 8:01 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

I don’t know how much you know about chickens. Here’s what I know in a nutshell. Chickens do two things well. They eat and “eliminate” what they’ve eaten. We’ve owned 24 chickens for more than three months and that is the full extent of their activity.
I never get the feeling that our chickens have hobbies or interests outside of eating and “eliminating.” I’ve tried to picture them having a lot of deep chicken conversations when we’re not around. I’d like to think they say things like, “I’d love to write a novel.” “I’ve always wanted to fly to see my relatives in Alabama.” “I wish they wouldn’t give us this ‘chicken scratch’ to eat. It’s totally degrading.” “If only we could get a wire cutter, I think we could bust this joint.” But I don’t think they ever say those things. 
We started in May with 25 chicks but one of our beloved foul met an untimely death in the first week. There’s no need to go into the gory details. Cats and chickens don’t mix well. Lesson learned. The 24 remaining chickens have been placed into the protective custody of a meticulously-built pen down by the shed. The chickens aren’t really ours. They belong to our younger son. He does an excellent job as the sole caretaker. He goes down early before school and again in the afternoon. His parents don’t do the work or the watering or the feeding. This is how life was meant to be lived. But then I got a brilliant idea. Ideas are dangerous things, friends. Maybe that’s why chickens never have them.
We decided to bless our dear son with a new, bigger watering facility for the chickens. He wouldn’t have to change out the water as often. He wouldn’t have to mess with several small watering vessels. This would make life easier. When you set out to make life easier for your children, beware.
I brought home the five-gallon chicken watering vessel and decided to set it up myself down in the chicken pen. Think how surprised our son would be! Yeah. Surprise! Surprise! First, I walked through all that chicken “elimination” to retrieve the small watering vessels and toss them outside the pen. Then I went up to the house to fill the new watering miracle worker. After filling the five-gallon vessel, I learned a valuable lesson. I cannot carry five gallons of water down a hill when it’s contained in a wonder chicken watering system. I just can’t. Remember that girl in 7th grade who could do 50 chin ups? Yeah. I remember her, too. I used to help her with spelling and grammar in 6th period. Me? I could never do one chin up. Never. In my entire lifetime. When I tried to “roll” the massive vessel down the hill, the bottom came off and water poured everywhere. When I tried to use a pulley system … OK. I didn’t really try to use a pulley system. I made a D in physics. After a period of time, a mild dose of intelligence kicked in. I emptied the water, carried the vessel down and set it up, and went back and forth with a gallon jug until the vessel was filled to the brim.
The chickens were so grateful. They said, “That big woman is smart and kind. How can we ever thank her?” “Maybe we should eat and ‘eliminate’ to show our appreciation.”
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 9.1.10

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