Tornados and Chickens

Living in Florida, we all have hurricane evacuation plans. Not so much do we have tornado plans. But today, when intense Gulf storms brought 80-mph wind gusts to Pinellas County and spurned a tornado just north of my little city farm, I began to think of what my tornado plan was. Images of me and three chickens and five cats taking cover in my bathtub were not very reassuring. So I did what everyone does during tornado warnings: sit and watch Bay News 9 and pray it doesn’t come our way.

Flooding all around the coop -- but the chicks are still semi-dry!

Shortly after the first deluge of rain started hitting my house sideways, I donned my raincoat and old sneakers and traipsed outside to check the chickens — who, during last Monday’s rain storm, stood outside in their run looking at me with blank (and somewhat angry) stares while they ruffled their wet feathers — and see if they had had sense enough to climb the ramp and head into their dry, protective coop. Affirmative. Back in the house.

A little later, I stepped outside to check them again, after fearing the most recent wind gusts may have knocked a tree or perhaps a wayward pelican into their mesh siding. Mabel was standing on the ramp heading up into the coop, not quite sure if she should be in or out. Goldie was right behind her, following her lead (as usual). And Marguerite? In the coop’s nesting box laying an egg! Mabel gave me a sour look (if a chicken can do such a thing) and emitted one single, ear-splitting BWAAAAAWK!  I took this to mean that she wasn’t overly pleased about the day’s weather events. I reassured her I couldn’t do anything about it, and after making sure they were fine, headed back into my dry house.

As I write this post, it’s still raining. But the coop is dry, the run is not flooded, and the chickens are bulking up (beaking up?) on a delicious dinner of bread, carrots, tofu, and of course their chicken feed. I expect they’ll roost earlier than normal tonight since it’s so dark. I hope tomorrow is a new day — and much drier.

If you missed the earlier posts to the City Hen, you can always check out the main website here:


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