The Chicken Diaries -Day 1

Dear Diary,

Friday 5th June 2015 – 9:00am
Things are chaotic here at the egg farm. A whole bunch of us have been moved over the last few days to special holding cages and and there’s a lot of gossipy clucking going around as to why. Word in the shed is that we’re off to some place called the “Shopping Block”. Hooray, I love shopping! There’s been a lot of cars coming and going all day. Small groups of us are taken and shoved into all manner of boxes and cages. I’m guessing that’s how they’re shuttling us to the shops.

9:30am

Oh dear, talk about Chinese whispers gone wrong. It’s the CHOPPING block, not the shopping block! I now have no idea if I really want to get into one of those cars, my small world is in turmoil. The good news is that someone put this appeal on something called FaceSpace or something and and it went viral and the egg farm owners certainly didn’t expect to be run off their feet loading chickens in cars all day. There’s a good chance a lot of us ladychickens may get an opportunity to prove that we’re not past our use by date. Wings crossed, I’m hoping I’ll be one of them.

The family that owns us supplies bulk eggs but also sell eggs direct to the public from a little shop out the front of their house. I can hear the farm employees complaining that they’ve been run off their feet constantly loading chickens into cars since 9am without a break.  The workers keep saying to the arriving humans that they’re running out of chickens. What about me? I’m a chicken. Oh dear this is highly stressful.

3:00pm
Okay now I’m ready to lose what remains of my feathers. All the other girls are getting new homes and I’m still here and it’s late in the day. An old red car has pulled up and a big scary guy with a beard has climbed out and is joking around with the workers. They’re impressed with his DIY milk crate chicken carrying cases. He’s telling them he saw the posting and then realised he had no way to transport six chickens back to his house. So he zip-tied a long piece of cardboard on one side of the milk crate to make a door. Once the crate was loaded he could zip tie the other end and enclose the crate. He also put a piece of cardboard on the base to act as a floor.

 

3:05pm

Eeek! I’m hanging upside down by my legs. Oh no it’s the end. I hear this is how you’re carried to the cone of death. The old biddy nest to me is squawking like there’s no tomorrow and perhaps she’s right. I hope it’s quick.

3:06pm

Ooooh, I’m right way up again and it would seem I’m in one of those milk crate things with my squawking friend. The red car man brought six crates but the workers here figured we’d be fine two to a crate. There’s plenty of room and it’s kind of nice to have someone in here with me. My feathers got a little ruffled when I saw him pay the workers $18 for the six of us, I mean really, $3 each? I’m worth so much more than that.

This driving thing is fun.  I tried asking where we’re going but every time I stuck my head up through the gap to look around and let out a “Buuuuurk”, the bearded man would have a fit of laughter. We’ve obviously been left in the care of a simpleton, this does not bode well. The car ride took nearly an hour so he’s driven a long way to get us. I’m so glad we were two to a crate as it minimised getting jostled around.

Our new human finally took us out of the car. That’s me staring at the camera however I think he took the photo because he’s astounded at the size of the poop one of the girls did. Has he not seen the size of eggs? Boy is he in for a surprise. Perhaps he’s not such a simpleton after all, as he did lay down a lot of cardboard underneath us.

4:00pm

Oh my, this is a little bit posh. The other ladychickens are running around everywhere all excited, they don’t know what to make of it. Our human has given us a mansion to live in! I believe they call it a ‘Coop’, how fancy. Floorspace is roughly 3m(~32ft2 for those chickens who haven’t evolved to the metric system) and that’s just the house! Our private protected yard is about 18m2  (~200ft2) so I’m wondering where the other 100 hens are hiding? Surely all this isn’t just for us six ladychickens?

 

 

 

I can hear our human talking on the phone to a friend. He’s saying he can’t understand how the cheapest breed like an ISA Brown (That’s me!) at point of lay for a backyard costs ~$18/ea while  a fully reared meat chicken is grown to size, sent to an abattoir, processed, packaged, transported to the shops and sold at a profit for under $10. Even my basic chicken math tells me there’s something askew there. He’d better not be working out if I’m economically tasty! Fortunately I think he’s just stoked he got six for the price of one.

Now he’s waffling on about how this purchase was all so sudden and he hasn’t completed work on the coop. Whatever, I’m going to go forage through this weird green stuff on the ground while the human stuffs around with his drill making ramps for us to get to the front door.

5:30pm

So it’s dark and in the tin shed we lived in that means we simply put our bums on the ground and go to sleep. The human is confused and is wondering why we aren’t heading to the coop. He’s now walking around picking up us girls from under pipes, inside milk crates, on top of pallets and wherever it was we plonked down, where we were standing, when it became dark. It would seem he’s tucking us in and putting us in the coop. How sweet. It’s nice in here with this thick bed of sugar cane mulch under us. It is a little bit scary so despite all this space, the girls and I are huddling in a giant chicken pile in the corner.

Goodnight Diary. It’s been an epic day and it’s time to dream of butterflies and chomping down on them. I hear that some humans give their chickens names. I can’t wait to find out mine. I’m sure it’ll be something exotic like Jasmine or Scarlet (I am a redhead)!