Chickens: A Love Story

Mirra Fine - Blog

So, we are now in what we know as “hell month”. Yes, this trip is coming up and it’s all very exciting. But it’s also the ear-to-the-ground/once-a-day-bathroom-break/shower-if-you-have-to time where we do nothing but research, raise money and plan for our May 9th departure. Daniel and I have split up the work, where I handle the actual planning of the route and he goes out to fancy lunches and suns himself. Kidding (…?)

On top of leaving the state on May 9th, we will also be leaving our apartment and all things we love. Which brings me, obviously, to our chickens. While Daniel and I are out gallivanting around the country (and by gallivanting I, of course, mean seatbelted into a car for 18+ hours a day), Uncle Oyster, Midge, Sandino, Lansbury and Croissant will be staying back at home in their coop.

With all the excitement for the trip, this is one area where I have had the most reservations. Mostly around exactly who will care for my little ladies. To the lay person, chickens may not seem like that big of a concern, but I happen to adore them. And when you really love your chickens, managing the coop can come with some major drama.

For example, Uncle Oyster has become increasingly reckless ever since she was stolen from our coop last summer and spent five days in an apartment building (before a late night rescue). While the others are doing normal chicken things, Uncle Oyster is usually roaming the alley like a badass because she’s “been through it” and doesnt need to follow the rules.

And it’s understandable. She had to grow up a lot faster than the other ladies as she was held hostage by neighbor kids while I nearly had a heart attack trying to find her. Thankfully, after an extensive week long search — which involved “Missing Chicken” posters plastered throughout the neighborhood, and my feelings mocked by friends and family alike (my dad still cant speak of it without bringing up chicken sandwiches) — we got a call at 1:30 in the morning that a “chicken that matches your description” was in public housing a few blocks down.

And that’s not all that has happened. Check out a cool artist’s rendition of another one of our chicken escapades here. We now have a lock on the hen house along with a very watchful eye. For this upcoming trip, Im looking for is someone to care for my girls like I do — To see past all the feathers and chicken poop, and instead see into their little hearts. They are wonderful ladies, and each different in their own way. Luckily, my upstairs neighbors have graciously offered to look after them while we’re gone, which I think will be great. I just need to show them the ropes and clue them into chicken feelings and signs of distress.

For an in depth look at our chickens, See episode 9 and episode 39.

In other news (if you’re still with me): We’ve had over 250 story suggestions submitted online. The majority of them, thus far, have been about CSAs, Urban Gardens, and Small Farms — which is great. But what we really need to know about is food and food techniques that are UNIQUE to each state. If you’re from Arkansas — tell us about the traditional food (using local ingredients) that a cool neighbor makes, or if you’re from Long Island, point us in the direction of a good clam diver. Clue us in to what the locals know! We would be ever so grateful… and it would make the trip planning a lot easier. Thanks so much!

  • Kate AuH2O

    I especially love the gender-nonconforming chicken names! Love this entry, Mirra!

  • Robyn

    Forgot to tell you — I know an oysterman in Connecticut who’s also an artist and labor organizer/political campaigner. Very interesting person who knows tons about tons of things. Would you be interested in connecting with him?

  • Anonymous

    Hi Mirra,
    My sister told me about this project of you and Daniel’s, and I’m so happy I’ve found it. I too love the names of the hens; I’m sure they’re all as unique as each of their personalities! This entry and the chicken-related episodes inspire me to have my own chicken coop. My grandma had one, and I grew up with one, but since have not thought about having my own. My fiancé and I have just started our garden, and he keeps bringing up chickens. He’s always been strangely fascinated by them, but since he had a bad experience raising one and it mysteriously disappearing (we think he was eaten! lesson learned.), he’s been hesitant to try again. We’ll watch your episodes together and reconsider it. Thanks for your insight. I laughed out loud about Uncle Oyster’s ordeal (clearing not a laughing matter, but just way you described it was clever).
    Look forward to reading/watching more.

    • Mirra

      Hey Serena!

      Thanks for the note. You and your fiance should definitely give chickens another try. Early on, we lost two (Ralph and Boney) to a raccoon.. and I was very upset. So I understand how he feels.