Mabel Going Home

Mabel, the chicken queen of all chickens — the chicken who made me WANT chickens — is going back to the stables tomorrow. For the last several days, she’s been picking on Marguerite, erupting in ear-shattering squawking, and acting generally agitated. She settles down at moments during the day, but then if she hears me in the kitchen or I happen to go outside and slam my screen door, she’ll start crowing. Much like a rooster. And in the mornings, she wants OUT by 7 am or sooner. That in itself is understandable. The fact that she broadcasts it to the neighborhood is not.

So I made the difficult decision to bring her back to the farm. She’ll go tomorrow. I feel like I’ve let her down. I’m sad as hell. But I can’t have my wonderful Mabel ruin the chances I have to keep ANY chickens at my home. She’s just simply not cut out to be a backyard chicken.

I’ll be bringing a little Mabel or Goldie home in exchange. And I’ll feel sick about it the entire time, as I do now, as I look outside at the quiet sunshine-yellow coop surrounded by a delicate glow of solar string lights. It feels downright shitty, actually. I go from justifying my decision to regretting it, to hating the ordinance of St. Petersburg because they have the power to make me give up my precious Mabel IF a neighbor complains about her squawking. Can we talk about how loud and obnoxious the various dogs are in the neighborhood? How the cooped-up next door neighbor’s dogs bark and howl out of their stupid canine heads at all hours of the day and night? Or how the idiot yappy dogs behind my property line get out and snatch their annoying little lips at each other in heated barking that resembles screaming children having a tantrum? Or how those eruptions set off a chain reaction of howling amongst the neighborhood’s ill-cared-for pit bulls and rotweilers who join in the chaos until they get tired of hearing themselves? No, because the fricking city doesn’t have the balls or the power to control the out-of-control canines of Pinellas County.

Just my chickens. And because Mabel is louder than most chickens — but far, FAR less loud than the nearest yappy dog — I’ve got the Fear of God put in me by the potential long arm of the damn law. Because I’m a follow-the-rules citizen that gets crapped on every time she tries to do something good.

I’m very annoyed. Frustrated and sad. And angry. But I’ll make the change because I know no other way of trying to take advantage of the law — or lean on the good graces of my neighbors — without feeling like a schmuck.

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