The landlord dude and his chicks

Time for yet another episode in the ‘Landlord dude’ series.

The landlord dude had a big heart when it came to animals. He loved animals more than he loved humans. Although he sometimes also forgot all about them.

One day, he decided with our Argentinian house mate, that he needed a chicken coop. For weeks on end he drove across the country to pick up free materials everywhere. Before long, the driveway and the garden looked like a horrible mess with wood of varying quality, and in various stages of decay, was left to continue what it had already started doing. The place, the mansion, looked more shabby by the week.

The wood was planned to become a chicken coop. In a dead corner of the garden, a ramshackle little house was built, and around it, some sort of fence was created out of netting. The kind of netting used to protect cherries from birds. Let’s say it wasn’t very high quality, and soon after installing, I had to free the first red squirrels from death from hanging themselves. It didn’t keep the predators out either. Soon after, the number of the pretty little hens the landlord had acquired started dwindling. Until there were only two competitive roosters left.

I’m not sure why, but the roosters were left untouched. They started calling at 4am every morning, and seemed to only be getting worse and worse. One day, a neighbor came to ask if the landlord dude could do something about the roosters. Her husband suffered chronic disease that included sleeping disorders. The landlord dude replied that he was quite fond of his roosters, but that he’d look into it. I overheard the conversation, and knew what it meant. He didn’t give a fuck. I killed the two roosters within the hour. The Argentinian and the landlord dude grilled the two scrawny birds on the barbecue that night. What an odd celebration.

You’d think this story ends here, but you’d be wrong.

To make up for the lost roosters, the landlord bought new chickens. This time around, he bought chickens of the massive broiler kind. No fox or marten would dare come close to one if these Big Birds. The landlord dude loved it. This namely allowed him to remove fencing and netting altogether, because why wouldn’t you want six huge chickens running around in your garden?

Five chickens stayed in the garden. Miss six, however, was smarter than that. She used the cat door to reach inside the house. She basically lived inside the living room and the foyer. Landlord dude didn’t care. We’d often come home to find the golden retriever, the red tom cat, and miss six chilling together in the living room, on the white leather sofa. I still have a picture somewhere, but I can’t find it. A happy animal family.

Miss six didn’t care about being with her sisters. She also didn’t eat the food that was provided outside. I’m not too sure there was always food out anyway. Because she didn’t get the minerals she required, she laid eggs that had very thin shells. But laying eggs she did. Age dropped them everywhere. The white leather couch soon became a yellow yolky stained couch. I also loved the two shellless eggs she deposited in an open toolbox, somewhere between some screwdrivers and a monkey wrench.

One Saturday morning, we slept in late. It must have been 8.30am or so, when we heard weird muffled noises coming from downstairs. As if someone was lifting a crate of empty bottles. The hollow glassy sounds sounded familiar, yet unrecognizable. After a minute, silence returned. About half an hour later, the sounds returned, became louder, and soon I turned into sounds of dishes shattering…

We heard the landlord dude come from his bedroom on the other side of our floor. He hurried down the stairs, and started screaming at his animals. It wasn’t the dog. It wasn’t the cat. “Chicky, chicky, what are you doing?” he exclaimed. “Are you cleaning up the dishes?”

Probably for the lack of food outside, miss six had decided to feast on the leftover dinner the landlord had had with one of his ladies the night before. Miss six was rather clumsy, although something makes me think she did it on purpose.

Miss six and her five sisters made for a very lively garden experience. I never knew what happened to them. I can’t remember if they were still around when we left when the house was sold. I’m sure they left a few golden eggs here or there.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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