Epic Belgian Email #4

The chickens are coming, the chickens are coming!!

I’ve decided to devote this epic email to chickens, since that
seems to be a topic of great concern to a few of you (and since
not much else is worth reporting this week.)

So the chickens. A couple weeks back, just after I moved in, we
had a house meeting. The main point was the divide up the
chores, so I didn’t feel too bad when my mind drifted off as the
rest of them enthusiastically debated things like taking out the
garbage – all in Dutch. I figured eventually someone would ask
me what I wanted to do, and I’d vollunteer to put out the
cardboard for the recycling guy or something.

But no, when the turned to me, it was not to ask how I felt
about sweeping halls or scrubbing toilets.

Everyone suddenly turned to look at me – all five of them at
once.  “Do you like chicken?” Marianne asked.

“Yes!” I said, happy to have an easy answer and thinking maybe
someone was going to make me dinner.

“Oh, no no no,” Marianne corrected. “I meant chickenS. You know,
to have in the backyard.”

I wasn’t sure about that, but everyone else seemed firmly in
favor of the idea. I’ve had chickens in the backyard before –
while I was in the Netherlands – and they didn’t bother me much
then. Besides, I had visions of fresh eggs swimming through my
head. (There are a lot of omlettes in my diet these days.)

By the end of this little house meeting, we’d made the discovery
that I am the only non-Belgian present (as if that was not
obvious through my very poor Dutch), which means I am the only
person who stays in the house on weekends. What does this mean?
It means I’m the only person who can feed the chickens on
weekends. Since consistency is good, my new house job is to feed
the chickens every day. How hard can that be? Better than
toilets, anyway.

The chickens arrived on Wednesday. We got two – a big fat brown
one, and a bigger fatter grey one.  I had forgotten how fat
chickens are. Or maybe these chickens are just especially fat.
Maybe they fattened up for the winter. They look a lot like big,
feather-covered balls with beady eyes.

We haven’t named them yet, at least, not officially. I was
talking to Megan online the other night though, and after I said
they looked a bit like dinosaurs (y’know… feathery dinosaurs),
Megan suggested Rexie and Roxie. I like it. 🙂

The grey one still seems to be able to fly a bit. She’s been
outside her little wire-enclosed space every morning so far.
Since there’s no place she can go, I just leave her, and by the
time I get back from classes, she’s usually back on the right
side of the fence. Kathrine (the landlady) suggested we needed
to get her wings clipped. I made it clear I wanted nothing to do
with that.

So far, feeding them hasn’t been a problem. One of the girls was
supposed to go get chicken food (?), but that hasn’t happened so
far, so we’ve been feeding them stale bread. Lots of that to be
had around here. They’re scardie-chickens, as it turns out. When
I come out, they both run and hide in a corner where they peer
at me suspiciously.

I’ve attempted to locate any eggs they might be laying, but so
far, I haven’t found anything. They have a little house with a
removable lid that’s full of straw. I didn’t exactly mine to the
bottom of the pile of straw, but there doesn’t appear to be much
egg-laying going on.  Anyone know if chickens like to play hide
and seek with their eggs? They do have to actually LAY eggs once
in awhile, don’t they?

I suppose I ought to do a bit more chicken research. So far as I
know, though, I’m only expected to make sure these guys get fed.
No one’s said anything to me about cleaning out the coop or

Gosh… I guess my email got a bit too epic – yahoo appears to
have eaten the last few paragraphs.

I don’t remember exactly what was in them, but the important
part is the part that says everything here is great, I miss you
guys, and I’ll send more news when there’s more news to report.

Oh yes, and I also said that I updated my webpage. No new
pictures because my camera software is on the fritz, though.
I’ll have to put chicken pictures up later. 🙂

I’ll call the end though. Have a great week! Mmmmwah!

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