These were chickens that someone's daughter raised in her room, until they got too big for the house. They needed a home, and Andrew wanted some chickens. Now, I've thought of chickens before, so I said "sure!" Except barely were the birdies established, when he ran off on the vacation with his family, so I guess they're pretty bonded to me, now.
So anyway, the old dog run has become not so much a chicken coop as an aviary. The chickens in question were two "San Juan chickens," meaning some of the old stock that free-ranged through the town, and one Cornish Cross, which turns out to be more of a meat bird. Bianca (for this is her name) is almost as big as a goose, and I have recently found out that her breed rarely lives to be more than a year and a half old, before dying of heart attacks. Now, I have a streak that knows Andrew wouldn't let me make a broiler of her before her time, but I think she looks mighty tasty. I have no problem with turning her into dinner when she (ahem) cacks off. I just have to convince Andrew that we can reverently eat her.
The other two, Clarisse and Juanita, are interesting. Very feral looking fowl. I think old chicken stock is cool. And it turns out that Juanita is an Ancona, which is considered a rare and endangered old-time breed. She's even the "unimproved" variety, with the white wing feathers they tried to breed out in favor of only white tips, back in the 1890's. Shes curious and active, and likes to catch flies out of the air.
So, I have become a chicken mom. I take them their treats, and hang out with them. I find chickens are both relaxing and entertaining. And the cats think I've brought home kitty entertainment. Jiro has given up hurling himself at the chain link, but he still tries to figure ways through cracks and crevasses. Not a chance, cat. Good thing we made a solid wire top over the whole thing, because he checked that angle, too. Actually, I think having predators around is good for them, keeps them on their toes, and brains engaged. Keep up wiley chicken survival traits. Keeps Bianca the Portly exercised, too, which might help her live longer.
So that's what I'm doing for relaxation, lately. Hanging with the chicks.