Tag Archives: chicken

Shoulder chicken

I was sitting on the rocking chair with my laptop on my lap, doing ‘net stuff in the morning.  HW had just left for work.  My chair was right beside Apples’ box (the house chicken).

Suddenly, she leapt up onto my knee with a big flap.  Very startling, and extremely uncharacteristic.  Wow!  Ok, you’re in the mood for a little cuddle?  I made room for her on my lap.

Shocked and delighted, of course I was nowhere near my camera, or phone.  But I did have my laptop on my lap.  I opened Siri and asked her to take a picture of me, and she obliged.  Siri has never come in handy before (“Siri, open Art folder” – “Alright, opening Google Earth”), but this time – clutch.Lap chicken!

I barely got a pic of that before she started climbing me, like a kitten (What the!?), scrabbling up, up, until she summited my shoulder.

Siri, are you getting this?Whereupon, she settled right down like A: she planned to stay awhile, and B: this was totally normal, like we do this every day. WHAT?  THE?

Sure, she’s lived in the house for a while, HW sings and talks to her (pretty often), we occasionally try to pet her (and get growled at for it), and she really came out of her shell when Lily visited.  But day after day, she spends all her time in her box or on her sheet of paper.  We have NOT made any active attempts to change her behaviour or “train” her.  Certainly not to play parrot.

She has never before shown any inclination to reach out to us.Now, she was all cuddles.

Since it seemed like she was staying, I put her on my other shoulder, got a towel in position, and put her back.This made me more comfortable.  I didn’t trust she’d also suddenly got house trained.What are you thinking?  It’s really something to look her in the eye, at about 3 inches, and she’s looking back with that little black eye.

Long neck. Longer neck.

She got real relaxed, dozing, doing a little grooming, leaning on my ear (oh, I’m on your shoulder? So what? Can’t stop grooming) .Then, she got really, really cuddly.  And she’s so soft and warm.  HW had a theory, when I called him later (“You’re not going to believe this…).  Just before he left in the morning, he’d asked me when I was going to put Apples back out in the world.  He figures she heard that, and wanted to put a stop to that line of thinking.You’re not going to let him come between us, are you?

She stayed for a very long time.  Like almost two hours.  Ultimately I got too hungry to sit any longer, and got up and started walking around, with her still there.  She didn’t seem to enjoy surfing,  though, so I set her back down, and she ate, drank, and settled in for a big nap.  She had a really big day.

Did you ever?   A CHICKEN!

The first ray of sun

The first ray of sun through the chicken door intrigues the chickens.  Do we want to go out?  Is it cold?  Is it muddy?  Is it windy? Well, it’s sunny.

In New Silkie land, there are telltale signs of the dirt bath seeing use – dirt sprayed around.  This is promising.  They are becoming real chickens.  A few hens use the space beneath the coop (as I knew they would), for sanctuary, and are reprogramming in peace.  Chicken meditation.

Sitting chicken is still with us and coming out of the coop at least part of the day.

These guys know what to do with a dirt bath:Look how clean they are.

Yeah we do.

 

At night now (it’s so cute), I take their fence down, and all the “old” Silkies trot out in a line and file up the coop ramp.  Even the covered wagon empties out.  While I go close the other three coops, all of them make their way to bed by themselves.  The Colonel has them all trained.  It’s adorable.

 

Somebody needs a bath

The new chickens smell.

I’ve never thought about chickens smelling before (I don’t think they have a strong smell if there’s lots of carbon to neutralize the nitrogen of their shit), but the new chickens brought this sick, tangy smell here with them.  I don’t understand it.

Hopefully, a bath will clear up the problem.This should be good:  chickens’ first bath.

Except, they didn’t use it all afternoon .  It looks like no one even walked through it.  I’m hoping that they’ll figure it out themselves, because bathing lessons could get awkward.

Maybe they have to see another chicken bathing  to understand.  That can be arranged.  Puffcheeks spends all day in the tub.

The roosters have been amusing themselves with fighting through the fence.  There are no winners.  Only the fence loses.

——

It poured cats and dogs last night with a thunderstorm, and I happened to be outside with a light just in time to see a little frog climb up on the rim of a rain bucket and get comfortable.  Cute.

Sick chicken

There’s a sick chicken (or maybe not sick, just elderly).

A couple of days ago:Comb gone limp and discoloured, and that characteristic no-neck stillness, like a semi-sleep.Or a whole sleep.

This is an old chicken.  There are still older chickens around, because I still have a few with chopped beaks (- what an awful thing), but she’s an elderly lady, as far as hens go.

Today: Comb almost completely flopped and pale, her wings are slumping down instead of held up on her back, and she’s hunched up into herself, dozing in the coop.

Sometimes hens come out of a state like this, perk up and return to business as usual, but most likely she’s approaching her departure.

This is how the hens go around here, except a couple unlucky ones that seem to get got by predators every year.  They enjoy a long retirement, and then they withdraw, drift into this less and less conscious pre-death state, and take themselves to the dark coop for the final sleep. Watching them go, it seems like the transition from life to death is long and smooth, not at all a single moment.

I find them stiff in the coop in the morning, sometimes stretched out, sometimes with their head tucked under their wing.

I think this is the best possible chicken way to go.  It seems natural and restful, but it’s hard to be sure.  They don’t look to me like they’re in pain, but I wish I knew.

*She completed her transition overnight

Winter jacket

Jean jacket hen gets a new fleece jacket today.  I took her jean jacket away a couple of weeks ago, in the rainy time just before they went in the greenhouse, and immediately felt sorry for her, seeing her no-necking with the three feathers on her back standing up, for insulation.  She’s having a hard time regrowing feathers.  Lots of them seem to be broken off.  She’s a low chicken, but I haven’t seen her being mated or beat up on, she’s just in hard shape.  Her feet are in bad shape, her wing feathers are sparse.  She was bad off when she got here, and it hasn’t got much better for her.

Poor thing, those raw wing tops.

Anyway, she must be as comfortable as possible, so she gets a winter jacket.

She seems mildly pleased with it

Then the looky-lous come.

What’ve YOU got?  Hey, Sylvia’s got a new outfit!!
– She does?  I gotta see!  – What, this old thing?
Be honest.  Does this jacket make me look fat?

You see, she looks like she feels pretty good about it.  She got inspected (no pecking), and just hung out on the hay bale for a bit.  Cozier now.

HW says she has to have a crest on it. Like a big C, for … Chicken!!

BTW, the chicken who sits, er, sat, has made a total recovery, stopped dragging her butt, and is now indistinguishable from all the other tail-up chickens.  Yay!

Goodbye Granny

Little Granny died last night.  The last of my three original hens out here.

She’s been hopping around with surprising vigor this summer, but I guess it was her time.  Yesterday I found her face down in the grass against the greenhouse and I thought she was dead then.

I picked her up gently and her head popped up with the usual indignation Hey, what’s a chicken gotta do to get a nap around here? so I set her down again nearer the flock, but that was it.

She made a rapid transition.  Often hens linger for a few days, standing around in a kind of half-asleep state before they go.  I always wonder if they’re in pain when they go like that, but they seem to just slip away, from dozing to tucking their head under a wing for the last time.

 

Guinea eggs!?

I was working in the greenhouse and a hen started making a big commotion BaBWOCK!  BaBWOCK!! (etc-)

I looked out just in time to see a red hen (chicken) on the perch of the high rise guinea house, just before she took off.  She was most likely shrieking about her imminent long flight, like she was on the high dive board.

I turned back to work, and then it occurred to me – What was she doing up there?  Could she be laying eggs in the guinea house?!

I got a step ladder, climbed up to see, and sure enough, she WAS laying in the guinea house.  For a few days.  Well THAT helps explain the loss in egg production I was troubled by.

But hark.  She´s not the only one laying in there!  There are lovely pale brown pointy guinea eggs in there too!  What a sweet little nest.

Cool.  Guinea eggs!  She´s not laying in the woods after all.

Nice to know at least the guinea hen knows how to go inside her coop, even if she does sleep outside no matter the weather.

As for the chicken hen, what a cuckoo!

 

From farm to spa

Two lucky hens went for a long drive in a box.

I have a long-running ad on Kijiji to divest of Silkie roosters, rather than axe them, and sometimes I sell hens and eggs.  Keeping the flock manageable.

I think it´s simply hilarious to put them in EGGS boxes.  No one else thinks it’s quite so funny.  “It’s like the chicken and the eggs…which came first?  The eggs are going to come out of the box, but not right away?… Oh never mind”.  Also it´s like the Boxtrolls.

Grumpy chicken is not pleased with the box

Anyway, two hens went for a long drive (they made hardly a peep), and got a major lifestyle upgrade.  I got a text late in the day reporting that the hens  had loved every minute of a shampoo and warm blowdry (I bet they did.  I bet they’re simply gawgeous. ), and they also enjoy being held and petted. We’re not on the farm any more, Dorothy.  They’re probably hoping I forget to pick them up from this spa weekend.   It´s the bouff I´ve always dreamed of! I’ve always wanted a good blowout. I can´t even imagine how fluffy they got.

I did choose two of the shyest, most anxious and retiring chickens, because I had a feeling they were going somewhere to be pets, and they could appreciate the lifestyle upgrade.   I didn’t know it was going to be a spa package upgrade.

Coming soon to a neighbourhood near you: purse chickens.

Limpy

I have a handicapped chicken.  I’ve no idea what’s wrong with her, but her right leg doesn’t support her weight.  She hops and tries to step on her right leg but it collapses under her.  I’ve grabbed her for inspection, and she happily hangs out in the football hold while I inspect her leg.  I’ve gone all over her foot for slivers, and massaged all up her leg, but she doesn’t ever flinch, just sternly watches me palpating her stuck-out leg.

The first couple days she stayed in or right next to the coop, and then she roamed a little farther, but not all the way to our house like the flock goes every day.  She seems to not want to get too far from the coop. I’ve had to put bowls of water in the woods in her range.  It’s tricky to leave food out where she will find it before all the other chickens do.

She doesn’t seem to be in any pain, but she’s obviously limited and subdued.  She’s got that injured animal wariness, hiding herself in the brush.  It’s a mystery what is going on for her if there’s nothing she winces at, but she can’t walk on it.

—-

I had another chicken die.  No known cause, but she was an old chicken, one of the original set.  I was getting eggs out of the coop and she was in there, and she didn’t skedaddle indignantly like they usually do.  I moved her aside, and she settled down like she was going to rest a bit more.

I checked on her a little later and she was still there.  I stroked her head and back (a dead giveaway that she wasn’t feeling well).  Her upside down lids closed and she fell asleep while I pet her.

I checked on her in an hour and she had tucked her head under her wing and died:(