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In search of the #CraigslistFind

Erica Louder for Progressive Cattleman Published on 31 August 2018
chicken coop

My iPhone buzzed with a text message. It read, “What you decide on chicken coop?” The phone rang an hour later and I sent the call to voicemail. Later, when I read the transcript, it said, “This is, um, Eric – the chickn’ coop guy – um, wondering if I can deliver it today.” There were also two emails, “Wondering if you want this chickn’ coop. Plz respond.”

The afternoon before these messages, I had logged on to Craigslist (always a bad idea) to research (using the term loosely) a project for our county 4-H and FFA sale committee.

I did not find an answer on the butcher pig question, but I did find a chicken coop. It was the first thing that popped up in the farm and garden section. The owner of the chicken coop, who I later saved into my contacts as “Eric Chicken Coop Guy,” had listed the coop only minutes before.

I clicked on the icon. Immediately, the chicken coop-buying devil on my shoulder whispered, “A good ranch woman ought to have some chickens.” After all, I thought to myself, it really is a Cadillac – wired for lights, equipped with nesting boxes and is painted barn red. What else could I ask for in a coop?

Especially for one I didn’t need.

The reasonable devil (or is it angel?) on my other shoulder practically shouted, “You don’t even like chickens! Eggs, maybe, but chickens?”

“Yeah, she is right,” I thought. Chicken is near the dead bottom on my list of preferred protein, right above game meat.

Then, the chicken coop devil reminded me, “You’re not buying it for the meat or even for the eggs. … It’s for your kids.”

“For your kids,” I repeated to myself.

“You know,” that devil said, “your kids could use some chores. They are getting lazy.” I swallowed audibly and thought, “No, not lazy.” For our ranch family, lazy is the only four-letter word that even matters. How would I face my father if I raised lazy kids?

I broke. I emailed the seller. Not a minute after pressing send, the first phone call from “Eric Chicken Coop Guy” came though. Our conversation was as follows:

Coop Guy: “So, you want this chickn’ coop? It’s reeeaal nice. I fixed it all up for my wife, but she don’t want it no more.”

Me: “How many chickens will it hold?”

Coop Guy: “Well, let’s see. I reckon anywhere from 15 to 40.”

Me: “So, which is it, 15 or 40? That’s quite the range.”

Coop Guy: “I suppose that’s up to you. How many you want?”

Me: “I am not sure.”

Coop Guy: “Lady, don’t you worry. It will hold that.”

Me: “What? Yeah, um, is the price negotiable?”

Coop Guy: “I tell you what, I’ll even deliver.”

Me: “Er … OK, let me check with my husband. I will call you back in the morning.”

I hung up the phone, only half intending on returning the call. This was my passive-aggressive away of telling him no.

The next morning was the county fair Fat Stock Sale for our 4-H and FFA students. I serve on the committee, so my morning was crazy busy. It was in the midst of this crazy busy that I received the text messages, emails and phone calls. In a weak moment (and literally a moment was all I had), I told him I would take it if he could deliver it at 5:30 that evening (cue chicken coop devil).

I wasn’t home, but my husband, yeah, he’d be home. “He will help you unload it,” I told “Eric Chicken Coop Guy.”

After a frightening unloading, which I did not witness but only heard tell of, I became the proud owner of this Cadillac of coops. Unfortunately, it looks a lot more like the farm truck model than the CTS. It needs a paint job and could stand for a new roof. But hey, “Eric Chicken Coop Guy” did deliver.

I know I am hardly the only rancher with this Craigslist problem – the farm and garden section proves it. I stand before you as a recovering Craigslist addict and, apparently, an amateur chicken farmer (trying both titles out for style).

What is your best #craigslistfind? I’d love to see it. And, if you are asking the question, yes, there is a whole hashtag dedicated to these Craigslist treasures.  end mark

Erica Louder is a freelance writer based in Idaho.

PHOTO: It may not be a Cadillac, but the new coop hopefully gets better mileage. Photo by Erica Louder.

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