Night on the Farm


Chickens are so well-behaved. They never try to stay up late, run around, party into the wee hours. They head for their roosts at the first sign of sinking light.
Quite a few of them won’t roost in the chicken house, though. They roost in the open air, on the goat pen gates. They like to look at the stars and dream under the moon.
And sometimes they have big kafluffles as they jostle each other working to get their favorite spot on the gates. The other animals often sleep in the goat pen, too, which keeps the chickens safe. Pocahontas is on guard. When it starts getting colder, we’re going to put up roosts inside the goat house so the chickens can go in there. I don’t think they’ll want to roost outside when it’s 10 degrees, and the other animals will want to be in the goat house, too. But for now, I take advantage of the outdoor roosting. I like to stop by and pet them after they get up on the gates. Chickens do not like to be petted. The hens cluck at me in their annoyance, but they don’t fly off. Once tucked in bed, they don’t want to move. Chickens are so soft. They feel like silk.

I don’t try to pet Mean Rooster. He always roosts on the far goat pen gate and I don’t go over there. I DON’T HAVE A DEATH WISH.

More chickens gather in the chicken house as night falls. Some of them come early to pick out their spot and avoid the crowds.
Others trickle in, staying out to peck that one last bug before bedtime.
I hear the ducks in the woods, quacking. They waddle through the trees and brush, drawn by the light in the chicken house. They stop for a last drink of water in the drainage ditch behind the house where the springs in the hillside feed down. They wander over to the goat pen gates and think about making a nest underneath. They would blithely sleep out in the open under the gates if I let them.

Pocahontas comes to visit me at the goat yard gate.
I say, “Hello, Poky,” and let her nuzzle on me for a few minutes. She loves to nuzzle. I love to call her Poky, except when Mean Rooster is after me. Then I call her by her full name, which is POCAHONTAS GET OVER HERE.

I check on the other animals. They don’t come running over. They know I don’t bring cookies at night. Clover says, “Good night, Woman,” acknowledging me just enough to show she has tolerated me for another day.
Then I chastise the ducks and wave my flashlight toward the chicken house.
They follow my light, quacking their protest at their nightly confinement with chickens.
They tumble through the door from the chicken yard to the house and find their corners under the roosts.
Sleepy hens prepare to slip their beaks under their wings.
I shut the door and lock them in safe and tight.
It’s night on the farm.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on September 19, 2009  

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19 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 9-19

    I always enjoy your posts, makes me long for country living.

  2. 9-19

    Happysigh, ahh so cosy…yawn…almost makes me want to go to bed myself…oh, but it’s 10 am here! :sheepjump:

  3. 9-19

    I always wondered if the chickens like to be petted or held, I guess not. I am glad you showed the night life, very interesting. No disco?

  4. 9-19

    Let me be the first to say – Good night, Moon. :sun: (close as I could get!)
    Loved it!! :heart:

  5. 9-19

    It sounds like the animals have got you trained!!!
    I love reading about Pokie! She sounds like she enjoys having all the company at night! :sheepjump:
    Do the chickens rule the roost or the goats?

  6. 9-19

    Wonderful post :heart:

  7. 9-19

    Our chickens had a pecking order where they would set on the roost. The highest hen on the totem pole got to roost next to Mr. Big, then the other ladies out from her. Poor little Banty (the one who loved to perpetually set was unfortunately the lowest on the totem pole and she would roost on the bottom away from all of the hen hierarcy. Broke my heart but it’s just the way the henhouse is run!

  8. 9-19

    Word to you…. KERFLUFFLES ….love it!! That perfectly describes what chickens do. I can see it!

  9. 9-19

    I don’t know why but this post made me emotional. Had to hold back tears at the last panel. I love this blog!!!! Very satisfying.

  10. 9-19

    Night is my favorite time in the barn…somehow magical..especially Christmas Eve, or after the first snowfall…

  11. 9-19

    you have managed to so precisely re-construct my childhood; I travel far back in time looking at your lovely night time photos. may all the farm’s cuties have sweet dreams :heart:

  12. 9-19

    This post reads like a cute goodnight children’s book. I like that a lot and I think about reading it tonight to my kids, I know my son will love it.

  13. 9-19

    What a wonderful post, Suzanne! And what a fabulous picture you’ve painted of nighttime there on the farm. I could actually almost smell it. And I know how chickens smell…but it was still wonderful. :yes: Thank you!

  14. 9-19

    Just curious, Suzanne…are the chickens that roost in the open (like on the fence posts) safe from predators? I would have thought, since the racoons can snatch a hen that’s actually INSIDE the henhouse, that those that stay outside at night wouldn’t stand a chance.

  15. 9-19

    Are the chickens plotting something in the dark night when no one is watching? This post was awesome. I love it when you right about the chickens :chicken: (And the cats :purpleflower: )

  16. 9-19

    Ordinarily, I would say it wasn’t safe for them to roost outside, but in this case, because they roost on the goat pen gates, they have done fine. I think it’s because the other farm animals are there with them and that keeps raccoons etc away. They don’t want to tangle with a donkey.

  17. 9-19

    I just got a picture of you making sure that all of the chickens and ducks and goats and sheep and pigs and Giant Puppies and teenagers and kittens and other dogs and cats have brushed their teeth and gone pee before they go to bed!

  18. 9-20

    I love Pocahontas’ full name! LOL! And that’s hilarious about petting the chickens once they are tucked into bed. Love this post!! It’s neat to see what goes on at night on the farm, thanks for sharing!

  19. 9-21

    I love petting my chickens too. I like scratching them under their chin, between the wattles. I always think their feet, wattles and combs would be cold, but nope, toasty warm.

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