Tonight, I finally got around to cleaning out the chicken run. Oh, my people, let me tell you… It was no small task. It was SO TIME.
Let me explain so, as I regale you with tales of the horrible smells emanating from that dirt/muck/poop I was both pitchforking and walking in, you don’t think we are the worst chicken owners on the planet. Our chicken run has a layer of 1/2″ hardware cloth along the bottom to keep out digging critters. When we installed it all, we laid down rolls of sod to protect the chickens’ little feeties from the wire and to give them something nice and natural to scratch and poop on.
And scratch and poop they did! I’ve mucked out bits and pieces over the course of the winter and early spring if it started looking ugly, laying down fresh hay to keep the girls nice and clean and dry. But today, I discovered all that nice, fresh hay on top essentially created a poop-stank-buffer-zone. The second you breach that buffer zone… OH MY, the stank!
To add insult to (olfactory) injury, all that nice composting dirt and poop and plant matter was chock full of worms. This is a good thing, of course – except that the chickens learned very quickly that every time I pitchforked chunks of poopy dirt up, THERE LIE WORMS, and they descended like ravenous vultures, forcing me to be a little more delicate with my work so as to not pitchfork a chicken.
Needless to say, I needed to distract myself from the work at hand – and I’ve got this thing with songs getting stuck in my head anyway, which was quite convenient today. Here’s what I sang to the chickens on repeat this afternoon while mucking out the run: Neutral Milk Hotel, “Little Birds.”
Little birds born without a mother or a father
I can feel their feathers forming in the running water
Now there is another in the middle of my mouth
A hundred altogether inside of me now
Little birds, little birds, come into my body
Mother, they’re within me every moment I’m awaking
Bodies multiplying until they finally overtake me
Put your ears up to my mouth and you can hear them singing
Put your hands within me and you’ll know what I’m feeling
I just want to swallow up and promise to protect them
Which, of course, got me thinking about (and subsequently singing) other chicken-/bird-related songs: like Guided by Voices, “Chicken Blows.”
And M.I.A., “Bird Flu.”
And of COURSE, Arrested Development’s amazing chicken dances: