Yes, I will do just about anything to take care of my chickens and make sure they are happy girls. Take, for example, last Saturday morning. It rained all night Friday and it was still drizzling Saturday morning. We got a LOT of water out of this rain event. So much so, that when I took The Stinker for a walk I noticed tons of earthworms had flooded out onto the sidewalks and in the street gutter. My first thought was, “I wonder if the chickens would eat these?” You might think this is a no-brainer of a question, but my girls are picky eaters (I blame their previous owners). When I got back to our yard, I scooped a couple of worms out of the street gutter and threw them to the chickens. The girls gobbled them up in a flash. Okay…well, I answered that question. Now to go hunt down some more worms.
I went in the house to grab a small bucket and something to help scoop the worms off the sidewalk and out of the gutter. They are slippery little buggers, and when you touch them, they constrict and wiggle and they are just difficult to pick up. Plus you risk squishing one between your fingers and NOBODY wants that. A small fork would do the trick, I decided. So, wearing my raincoat I went back outside and began scooping worms off the sidewalk and plunking them in my bucket. I noticed a few houses up the street some very large worms, I mean some big whoppers, so I headed in the direction of the giant earthworms. Every time a car drove by I nonchalantly stood up like I was looking at a neighbor’s flowerbed or something. I heard one of my neighbors start his car in his driveway. I kept my head down and kept moving up the street, away from his house, towards the big worms. I really didn’t want to have to explain to anybody why I was scooping earthworms off the street with a fork and putting them in a bucket. I might earn myself a reputation…not that I really care if my neighbors think I’m a little eccentric. But maybe, and this is just a thought, they think I’m more than ‘just a little’ eccentric, though.
As I worked my way back down the street towards my house, my immediate neighbor (who also happens to be the mayor’s wife) backed her car out of her garage. I was back in front of my house by now. I heard her pull into the street, and she was heading my way. I heard the car pull over to the curb. “Oh, great,” I thought. “This is it. I’m going to have to explain myself.” Sure enough, she rolled down her window and said, “I’m just curious what you’re doing.” So I explained that I was gathering the worms for my chickens. I figured if I didn’t scoop them up, they would just end up dried and stuck to the sidewalk and street anyway, so at least this way I’m putting them to good use. She agreed, but I’m pretty sure I saw her shake her head in disbelief. She said, “Well, the fork made you look suspicious.” And off she went. I can only imagine the conversation he had later in the day when she told someone else (her husband, maybe?) about the crazy girl who lives next door, scraping nearly drowned worms off the sidewalk.
When I got back in the house, my husband asked me what the hell I was doing. He told me I looked like a 5 year old out there in the rain, squatting down to pick up critters and throwing them in a bucket. Yeah? Well, my chickens were very happy girls to get a big ol’ pile of wiggly worms and besides, worms are a good source of protein, especially right now because there aren’t a lot of bugs out yet. I’m just trying to be a good chicken momma. Don’t judge me.