...or a whole BUNCH of chickens.
Time to dust everyone for mites! Oh, joy.
our chickens free-range (fancy talk meaning they walk around the back
yard), they hang out with the wild birds, who in their comings and
goings, leave behind not-so-pleasant calling cards in the form of
parasites, both internal and external. Our chickens are very healthy
and having great immune systems, rarely get ill. However we do take the
precaution of worming them and dusting them with Sevin (an insecticide
powder). Usually we only have to undergo this routine twice a year, but
occasionally there is an outbreak of mites that demands an unscheduled
round of 'Piss Off Your Pets'. Like yesterday.
yesterday no worming was needed, we had just seen some creepy crawlies
on a couple of the hens so we got out the Sevin. Dusting is a procedure
that any self respecting chicken RESISTS, and resists with vigor. It
neccessitates grabbing the bird in one hand, a handful of Sevin in the
other, and massaging the dust deep into the chickens' feathers, all over
their body. ALL over their body. Including wingpits and
undercarriage. Hens, quite rightly, have a deeply-seated sense of
dignity and modesty, and DO NOT take kindly to having J. grope them in
such a familiar and thorough manner, and in full view of the rest of the
flock. My job was to catch the chickens and hand them over to J. for
dusting (the look they shot me reminded me of french aristos going to
the guillotine), a process which is much easier in some birds than
others. Sweethearts like Babs, Rita, Sugar and Phoenix complied with a
minimum of squawking and struggle, but some of the others (Houdini,
Juliette and Splash), when they caught on quickly to what was going on,
became deliberately slippery and impossible to catch. As the procedure
wore on, the dusted birds would stand fearlessly at our feet, in an
invincible, "Hah, I'VE already been done!" manner. The
as-yet-unmolested chickens hid under any available bush or lawn chair
and willed themselves invisible.
Eventually everyone got done,
and the coop, roosts and nests as well--for when you dust you have to do
the living quarters as well, otherwise it's like taking a shower and
putting on grimy clothes. Today not ONE of the chickens will come near
me, their noses are severely out of joint. I'll bribe them in a bit
with a leftover cheeseburger...food goes along way in chickenland.