Why Did the Chicken Coop Cross The Road*

*(new headline courtesy of Con von Hoffman)

I drove in the driveway last night at 8:30, returning from North Carolina, and there, in the darkness, was a chicken coop.

The coop had been across the street in Cousin Pete’s backyard for the last 40 years, carried there by several strong men with cross timbers. I remember because I helped carry it from here to there and disaster struck me when we arrived across the street and my foot plunged through the ground into a nest of ground wasps. There, the coop stood, on the other side of the Chatfield compound, chickenless, for four decades, the preferred crash pad for many a teenager who wanted some privacy and was willing to sleep on the mattress that is still crammed inside.

Before the migration from here to there and back again there were actually chickens living in the chicken coop. My father wouldn’t eat chicken (nor fish) as a result of being tasked with the chicken duties as boy in World War II when rationing made things like chicken coops and Victory Gardens a fact of life in rural America (which Cape Cod definitely was until the 1960s). Maybe it was the head chopping, feather plucking, gizzard gutting mess that turned him off, all I know is the man was not a chicken eater.

I would like to add chickens to my many diversions. I am jealous of my colleague Mike Etherington,who introduced egg-layers into his English backyard this summer with risible results. However, it is simple for me to say I want to get into poultry husbandry as I am traveling more than half of the time and would abandon my wife to the task of cleaning the coop and defending it against marauding critters and raptors.

My favorite part of the county fair is the chicken shed, where the different breeds are on display — about as many as there are dogs in the AKC list. I think I would raise the New England classic, the Rhode Island Red.

Reality? I will re-roof and re-shingle and my daughter will claim it as her boudoir next summer.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Why Did the Chicken Coop Cross The Road*”

  1. I’d raise my own chickens if I could. We’ve switched to free range, cage free mainly becuase I think it is major crime with how chickens are treated in factory farms, but the added bonus is that the eggs taste better too.

  2. Chickens! you crack me up, Dave.
    What fun for Daph, chosing between decorating for a beloved daughter’s budoir, or a flock of egg-laying hens and roosters that are disrectful of Sunday mornings! oh the quandry!
    I can’t have roosters here, and I see no point of having only hens.
    Besides chickens, you can also raise quail. And nothing makes me smile larger than seeing a quail hen and long string of micro quail chicks zipping around my place at Mach 3 single file jinking and jiving around the yard.
    And then we come to the issue of the young llama in my family. it still needs a home and I think Fish would look very cool, leading his pack llama down to the village, a leash attached to it’s spikey collar, five feet offf the ground, and then coming back with needed victuals bungy corded to its pack frames. how that’s for imagry? And besides, a pack llama with a chicken jockey perched on its back would really add to the Churbuckian Cotuit heritage.
    I feel like I’m being egged on in this post, so I’ll roost for now.
    Ovidly and ovally yours,


  3. Have we stopped taking our ADD meds again? Fishing specifically fly fishing, cycling with an interests in fixed gears, clamming, gunkholing, marlin spiking skills-seamanship i guess one calls it, rowing, sailing, cooking, gardening, writing, reading and chickens.

    I’m exhausted and feel like I need to get busy.

  4. I have been in deep mourning since Pete told me of the impending move. My beloved chicken coop where I lived many a summer, falling asleep to the sounds of a full rager continuing on the deck, scrambling during rainstorms when the little cupola would start to leak, hiding (ahem)visitors from Grandma. I guess passing it on to the next generation makes sense but B better watch her head as she’s a good foot taller than I am and even I managed to crack my skull on that doorframe more than once. Enjoy!

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