A Bit of Fame

My Human is nearly crowing with pleasure as my Daily Rasorial has been recognized on another blog, in England no less!

This is what they have said about us:
"Learn exactly why the chicken crossed the road in this brilliant online journal. A straight to the point, very funny and painfully honest account about the ups and downs of chicken keeping."

Of course this can't go to my head as I have more immediate issues to deal with, namely the 4 chicklets! Goodness are they pesky. Jane is very brave and tries to eat with me, not happening! Grace and Nora have learned to wait until us more mature hens get our fill. Baker has learned to follow rather than lead. This one has potential, knowing her place and all.

Human finds it necessary to keep track of our egg production.
Year to date statistics:
Lucy11
Emma13
Zena33

Chicken-keeping blogs we love
www.dobbies.co.uk/blog/chicken-blogs#comments

Flash in the Night

Well, we are NOT pleased! First off Human put the little chickens in the big coop with us. She stuck them in one of the unused nest boxes, which they jumped out of. They would not stop chirping until well after dark. Come morning I'll have to give those kids a sound pecking on their heads!

Just when we were all getting some needed rest, Human comes into the coop with a bright light capturing a photo of all of us perching. She was so pleased that the chicks managed to find the perch all by themselves. She better get up really early and let us out or those little ones will be missing some head feathers.

Big chickens checking out the little ones
A fine example of the 'pecking order' ladder

Coop Clean Up

Human decided that our coop was in need of a good cleaning. She took out the playhouse (well, we never liked it in the coop in the first place) and added a huge perch. At some point she will force the 4 little ones to join us at night. Right now though, Emma wants nothing to do with them. Human made Emma and Nora sit together her lap. Emma was quiet enough, even allowed Human to put her wing over Nora. But as soon as they were off the lap, Emma nipped at Nora!

perch large enough for the whole flocknew location of the play house
large enough for all 7 of us!          Zena inspects the playhouse in the pines

The playhouse is now in the main yard behind and under the pine tree. Human put a nest in there but so far none of us has used it. Although it does not rain much here, maybe Human thinks we will seek shelter in this little plastic house. Most likely the stray neighborhood cats will mark it!

LucyMay in her favorite nest
I like this nest. It's a milk crate lined with straw.

Seven is the Magic Number

Human has decided that the Buff Orpington chicks she has been raising in her coop are pullets and she's going to keep all four of them! At 6 weeks old, they are into everything, upsetting the peaceful balance of Nature we have enjoyed, until now that is. The largest of them, the one Human calls Grace, is emerging as the boss of the other three. She has pecked the combs of Jane and Nora to the point of drawing blood. Baker, the Buff and Australorp mix is keeping a low profile and thus avoiding confrontation.

However, Emma, my loyal right claw, has established HER dominance over all of them! If Human tosses out a snack, Emma makes sure the little ones do not get any. She chases them away from the choice dirt spots and tries to eat all their food. Zena is not as aggressive but manages to deter them from getting too close to her rasorial undertakings.

6 weeks old
from the back clockwise: Jane, Baker, Nora and Grace

Breed Information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australorp
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buff_Orpington

Kate has left the garden

Human put Kate into a box and took her from our garden. Kate had never been quite right, special needs Human called her. You may remember that Kate has an issue with her bum...it doesn't close up so there is a constant dribble of poo. Human wanted another egg producer hen and Kate could not. So Kate was taken to a large garden with fruit trees and other chickens. She will live her days in peace. Human is kind that way having vowed not to eat any of us.

Kate
Kate - Plymouth Barred Rock

Spring Update

Human has her hands full with the 4 chicks. They are four weeks old today and growing so fast. There is still no telling who are boys and who are girls. Human, being who she is, has named them Baker, Jane, Nora and Greta. The 3 'blonds' are hard to tell apart.
Sunshine Girls
Baker is the brown one. They are enjoying some sun time.

I have something to crow about, I laid an egg yesterday. Human guesstimates that I will soon be 8 years old. So every egg is a bonus for her and me. Chickens as elderly as I am are usually dinner by now!

I'm quite proud of this!
Doesn't look like much but it's all I can do to lay one weekly!

Human has lost her mind!

Human has really lost it now...4 more chicks are in her personal coop! They will be let out with the rest of us in about 8 weeks. This will change the pecking order, moving Kate up a rung. Until she knows what gender these peeps are Human is calling them Stew, Kiev, Soup and Baker. Can you guess who Baker is?

Dog must be going nuts!
www.youtube.com/watch


from left: Australop and 3 Buff Orpingtons

Winter Rain

For many days the sun shone and the air was crisp and dry. Not so these last few days. No sun and nothing dry. Human placed a tarp over our garden cart so we can get out of the rain. The soil is so soggy that there is no where to dust bath; even sitting on our feet is impossible without getting our bellies wet!

When the rain does stop we go wading in the puddles fishing for worms and other bugs who are trying to escape drowning only to be eaten.

In the night it is also wet and not too warm. Human comes into our coop and plucks us off the roost forcing all 4 of us to perch inside the play house. Yes it is warmer and much dryer but did she have to shine her light in our eyes?!

Human is letting Nature take her course and has stopped giving Kate a bum bath. Zena and Emma chase Kate away from the best morsels Human tosses out but she still survives. I feel a little compassion for her as a foster chick and we tend to stand together when not actively engaged in foraging.

Lucy’s Solstice

The Sun brightens the sky and I awake. My days are filled with the hunt for food. And when I’m not pecking and scratching for food, I lay in the Sun, stretching my wings and legs to let the warmth penetrate feathers to my skin. In the evening when the Sun sets and it is once again dark, I rest. The Sun is my timepiece and its movement guides everything I do. For me, Life is all about the Sun and its power to nurture Earth’s children, making things grow.

The seasons change slowly but if you are very observant, you will notice the difference in how the Sun shines. In the cold time of the year the Sun rises as always but it never gets too high in the sky. Nor is it as warm as in the hot time of the year when the Sun blasts down unrelenting heat. There is a day in the cold time that my Human companion calls Solstice. This is when the Sun shines for the shortest amount of time in the whole year. Human celebrates Solstice not for the shortness of the day but because it marks the Sun’s return to longer and warmer days. Days when Human will tend her garden to bring forth Earth’s gifts. The journey of the Sun rules us all.

It is this Solstice that my Human celebrates with fervor. She decorates her coop with evergreen branches and candles. There is the rich smell of cooking food wafting in the air whenever the door to Human’s coop opens. I run to that door for my share of whatever Human doles out to me. Bread, cooked vegetables, fresh fruit and milk are the bounty she gives me on this Solstice Eve.

There are cut oranges and plenty of seed for the wild birds. Every living being in the area of our home is honored with treats. My best treat is a seed cake made from the fat of a four-legged animal, cracked corn, millet and oats. Human makes up a huge cake for me and I chase away the wild birds so I can have it all.

In my part of our land, Human sets out candles in paper bags filled with sand that she will light on Solstice night. These little flames are token mirrors of the Sun’s power and act as a reminder that without the Sun all would be darkness and cold. Life as we know it would not be. It is a powerful connection with times past when there was only fire to light the night.

Inside the hearth fire burns brightly; music and song fill the air. Laughter comes from Human’s coop as the day draws to an end and Solstice Night begins. She has invited friends to share her cooking and enjoy the lighted bags. And of course, they all must come to my coop to say hello, shining lights at me so that in the sudden brightness I object with a caw of disapproval. This too is part of the annual ritual.

Solstice harkens to the first ones to inhabit the Earth, those who found joy in merely being alive. There is no artifice in celebrating the Return of the Sun. Gifts are given from the heart, freely and often without monetary cost. You do what you can with what you have. There is none of the tension or angst as in the other holidays celebrated at this time of the year. Try it, I as I do; lay in the Sun on the day of Solstice Eve and connect with that part of you perhaps lost while hurrying to be somewhere else.

Human sent my story to her newspaper so you might get to see this twice! Enjoy the days to come for they are filled with brightness.

Soo-she and other updates

  • Foot update: what ever Human did to get rid of the bumble foot worked. I hop much less now.
  • Molting: Us older hens are now finished with our molting which is a good thing as the weather has turned cold, well, cold for the low desert in which we live.
  • Kate: Human still washes Kate's bum but not as often. The vent issue has not resolved itself and she may never lay eggs. It's winter now so Human will have to wait until spring for any eggs from Kate.
  • Speaking of eggs, Zena has started laying again. She has become Human's best pest by flying over the low patio wall and cawing at the back door for treats. She has Human well trained!
Human gave us a huge plate of something called Soo-she. It is mostly rice with some unknown vegetable matter and fishy protein.There was extra protein on the plate and Zena got most of that first. The ricey things were a challenge in that we liked the protein much better than the rice and veg so we all picked out the protein first. Dog ate most of the rice.

Next Human tossed out what she calls 'salad'. Now this is not the usual lettuce and cabbage salad we are used to. This had green ball things (capers, not nice tasting at all), black bug like things (currants, ok as long as you don't chew) and white hard things that looked like grubs (slivered almonds). These we ate with great relish! The fancy greens were ok but the grub things were yummy.

Today the desert sky is giving us water, much needed though wet and cold for those of the feathered habit. We hide under a wagon Human put in the yard. It's just enough room for us to huddle and not touch each other. No doubt she will come out and grab us to put us in the playhouse in our coop. It would be nice if she brought us into her snug coop!