Have you ever taken a road trip with your chickens? I don’t mean boxing them up in cardboard carriers and taking them to shows; I’m talking about traveling with them as you would with your dog in the car.
On Friday, I bedded a large wire dog crate with fragrant timothy hay, secured it in the back of my car (a small SUV), and put in Marge and Eleanor. They pecked at the hay and settled in. We drove down the highway for an hour. The hens looked around, craned their necks at the sights, and moved about in the hay (which kept them secure – no slipping, even on curves).
Marge and Eleanor are good traveling companions. They even seemed to like my choice in music.
It was Labor Day weekend and I was careful not to speed, as there were plenty of police out monitoring the roads. But it did cross my mind that it would have been fun to be pulled over and have Marge make a ruckus at the cop.
We had a fine time at our destination – a parking lot at Wholefoods in Bellingham, where the customers got to meet my hens, pet two baby water buffalo and see a live beehive. Sure, it was a promotion, I tried to sell some books, the water buffalo people showed off their yogurt, etc., but, in the end, it was really about having people connect with where their food comes from. Besides, how often on a busy Friday night do you see harried shoppers grinning with delight?
The girls ate organic cheese crackers and looked interested in everyone who stopped by. Marge was unusually silent. I think that she was too busy to do her usual clucking, complaining rant. But, when I loaded them back up in the car, she started cackling. I don’t think that she wanted to go home.
It was dark by the time we hit the road, and the girls fluffed up, settled down and slept. I drove with the windows open, the smell of good hay swirling through the car, and content chickens in the back. Not your usual vacation Labor Day road trip, but it was fine, all the same.