It happens that I’m chicken-sitting for my friend this weekend, right here on the ranch. It took a day to get the temperature right for their box – they are about six weeks old and require constant temps of 70-75 degrees. But they’re eating and drinking well now, and look to be gaining a little bit of weight. And they are entertaining little creatures. Cotton, the lead hen, has taken to roosting on top of the water dispenser. (Chickens have a strong flock structure, and she’s clearly in charge.) She pecks at my wedding ring when I reach in to clear the bedding from their water.

So why chicken sit, if not out of the goodness of my heart? It’s not for the eggs — my friend will likely just have enough for herself — but rather in hopes of trading for a little manure, which is supposed to make great compost.

Charlie has decided that we’ll get nine chickens in the spring and name each for the nine Red Sox starters in the 2007 World Series. It’s unclear whether the ninth would be the DH or one of the pitchers, Papelbon or Beckett. Or maybe it doesn’t matter, since three hens is the code maximum within Seattle city limits.