2Bits: Confessions of a Chicken Coop Prisoner
“Get out of the chicken coop!”
Fall is a good time to reflect. Last week, I was thinking about this past summer. One of the events that sticks out most clearly in my mind is the morning I spent trapped in our chicken coop. The hens didn’t want me there. I certainly didn’t want to be there.
It all started early one Saturday morning with a neighbor’s phone call telling us some of our cows were out in the road.
My husband, John, and I hopped on the 4-wheeler and headed up the road. If these cows were ours, we’d move them back into their pasture. If they weren’t ours, we’d move them into a holding area. These roaming cows belonged to a close neighbor. So, after moving them to the safe holding area, we hopped back on the 4-wheeler and drove to our neighbor’s farm house.
This neighbor likes to talk a lot.
The morning was heating up, and I had more farm chores to do. So, I dropped John off at the neighbor’s house and headed home to start chores. Usually, John lets the chickens out of the coop into their fenced yard. He likes to do this. That morning, it was already 80 degrees by 10 am. I felt a bit sorry for the hens, so I opened the front door to the coop, walked inside, and opened the small door close to the floor that lets them out. I heard a click…..
John had just put a new latch on the chicken coop door that he secured with a “S” hook to keep the raccoons from opening it. Later I found out you had to put the “S” hook back into the latch before you went into the coop, so it wouldn’t re-latch while you were inside.
There I was, locked in the chicken coop with no cell phone in my pocket. The coop has a nice big back window. But that window had strong wire over it to keep the raccoons out.
Surely, it wouldn’t be long before John came home
He could let me out.
Little did I know that our neighbor had a lot more cows get out than what we had corralled. They were now looking for them as well.
Our coop also has a very nice front door. It is a reclaimed house front door with a big picture window on it. And from my vantage point, I could see up the hill to another large pasture. Soon, I saw several 4-wheelers go racing by on the top of that hill. I correctly guessed there were more cows missing.
Meanwhile, back in the coop it was getting pretty warm.
The hens were very concerned that I was still inside and making quite a bit of noise. Shortly from the view out of the coop’s back window, I could see John leading a group of our neighbors’ cows with a bucket of grain up through our bottom creek valley pasture, toward another cattle holding area. Great!
I started calling (okay yelling) his name.
By this time, two additional 4-wheelers and riders had driven right past the chicken coop door. I could hear them in advance and had pressed up against the window, yelling and banging on the door. No one heard me above the 4-wheelers’ rumbles. Later, John told me he had heard me yelling, but thought I was yelling at our dogs to stop barking because now our 6 dogs were very excited and wanted to join in the fun.
FINALLY a third 4-wheeler drove slowly down our driveway
It went right in front of the chicken coop. Hallelujah! Maybe this driver would be going slow enough to hear and see me. At first, this driver eased right past me standing with my face pressed against the window and banging on the door. It was another neighbor that owned a small corn patch these missing cows had just trampled.
Then, the 4-wheeler stopped. I could hear it backing up. Saved! The neighbor saw me! I pointed to the door latch. He sat there, reached into his pocket, pulled out his cell phone and took a picture of me and started laughing! How mean was that! When he let me out he said that was so funny, he wasn’t even going to complain about the cows in his corn.
So, how does this all fit into 2BuyAg?! I thought quite a bit about that as I stood sweating in that chicken coop. It sure does drive home the point of knowing what you’re getting into and planning ahead!
So, as you read our newsletters about farmers getting bigger and where the retail food business is going with all these huge mergers and online grocery ordering with home delivery, don’t get trapped in a space where you have little or no options to improve your situation. Use the 2BuyAg network to help you get out of your comfort zone and reach new markets. Get out of the coop!