Tag Archives: pet

Well, I’m back

Back on track.  I survived my alarming and exhausting 5 days of wretchedness.It started out a big rain day.  Only Cleopatra is out there wading for worms.  The barred rocks say Nah, too wet for us.

The first broody hen of the year has her own box, finally.  She’s been determinedly trying to warm eggs in the prime nest box of the big coop for a week, but I haven’t been able to manage getting her her own box.  That means that the big hens have been laying eggs right on top of her some of the time.  Some of the others have clearly been put off by the little witch always in their box and started piling eggs in another corner.  She settled in to the box well, considering the risky daytime move.  Often hens will flip out at the move, certain that their eggs are really where they last left them.  She’s inside the tomato safe in a private box, and I’ll build her a kennel asap.  This will be much more peaceful now.

Inside, I potted up a pile of various melons, cukes, and peppers, and I had a little helper.I expected her interest; she’s come trotting out of her zone for potting up occasions before.  She likes picking around at the dirt, or maybe just something different.  Just like a cat.  Whatcha doin’?

I’ve kicked some dirt around.  Pretty good, right?

We’d peacefully “worked together” like this for about an hour, and she’d perched up on the edge of the box for a better view, when suddenly:

Ta DA!

I’d almost met my goals of the day, so it was fine.  I finished up around her, and there was a little potting soil left.

I’ll take it from here.

All in all, we made a right glorious mess, but all the little starts are very happy in larger homes.  My start factory has turned the corner now, from still having seeds to begin or divide, to the starts heading out the door.  Cell blocks are being retired.  We’ve passed peak start, in other words.

I’m very pleased this year with my experiments in fabric potting bags, from China, and also homemade, but that’s another post.  All cleaned up.  I left her in the tub (she seemed happy).Two hours later.

I was watching for signs that she was hungry, needed a hand out?  But no, wriggle wriggle.  At three hours she started looking over the edge and I lifted her out.  She’s going to have some sleep tonight.  What a big day.

She’s all grown up now.  Any day she’s going to lay an egg.

Guinea sleepover II

The next night was rainy and a bit bleak.  In the morning when I released the sleepover chick, I hadn´t marked it, although we´d talked about banding it, to know which one was “our friend”.

HW did some out loud wondering whether we´d have another visitation.  Jokes about discovering the good life in the house aside,  maybe this little bird had an injury.  A sprain?  Perhaps it was having a hard time and the falling in the tank was a symptom, not cause.

In the evening, he closed the coops again and returned without remark.  He climbed to the loft, where I was, then halted meaningfully at the top of the ladder until I looked up.

No way!  There he was, holding a guinea chick to his chest, chick looking at me with neck stuck out, orange legs dangling.

The bird’s total comfort with the proceedings was the first clue this was the same bird.  And now I will be wrapped in a towel and snuggled.  Yes, please!

Wow!  Night two!  This time it had not gone for a swim and was only wet from the day´s rain, but it had been struggling to get up on the coop, and allowed HW to catch it (I don´t think it tried to get away very hard).

Same procedure:  Wrapped in towel, hugged, pet on the head (same bumps on the head confirmed definitely same bird), encouraged to go to sleep.  The chick was a little bit less tired tonight, keeping eyes open longer, but even more relaxed.  Totally silent.  Lounging.Like the previous night, I fell asleep with it and it woke me later by hopping up, then resisting my hey go back to sleep hand over top of it, and I put it back in the night box.

Now HW´s jokes about having a house guinea seemed a bit more real.  Hmmm.

 

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.

A chicken worthy of a name?

Since the tragic loss of the exceptional and beloved pet chicken Friendly last fall (I’m still sad), all the other chickens, indistinguishable in looks and behavior, have been just Chicken.  Even Naked, once her proud new plumage got a bit dingy, disappeared into the flock.

Now that the hens have been released, there’s one chicken distinguishing herself.

Typically there are three hens that stick very close to the rooster.  His girlfriends.  They cuddle with him at night while the other four perch over the nest boxes.  When he food clucks, the girlfriends dash up to him (as HW says, “Whatcha got, big Daddy?”), and the other hens barely glance up, rolling their eyes, “It’s probably just a stick again”.

Continue reading A chicken worthy of a name?

Chickens running

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Sometimes when I’m walking down the path, I hear a little whisk whisk behind me, and I look back to find two or three hens eagerly running along behind me.  They stop immediately when I stop and mill around, at a loss.  Uh, we were just, uhhhh, nothing.

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I start walking again and they run some more, curiously following.  Chickens running is about the funniest thing ever.  There’s the loping jog, where the side to side bobbing is very pronounced (doing doing doing), and then the running, more springy up and down but less side-to-side (boingboingboing), and then there’s the top speed, which usually means they throw their wings out for stability or to maybe be ready to take off at any moment, and so look like children running in superhero capes.  I spend a lot of time with a chicken shadow, and H.W. occasionally gets tailed.  So funny!  They’re convinced something good will fall to the ground around me if they only stick to me.

Only the low hen will come all the way to the camper by herself; others have followed HW here, but usually I tell my little followers to turn around, back it up! and then as soon as they lose sight of me on the curving path, they return to the others.  We do not want the whole flock hovering around the camper waiting for the door to open.  H.W. was already scandalized at our resident low hen today.  He set his slice of pie down on the bench to pull his shoes on, and she darted up, grabbed the pie, and ran into the woods with it.  She knew exactly what was at stake; earlier she was eating pie crust crumbs out of my hand.  I want to pet her, but we are not at that stage in our relationship yet.

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The naked chicken seems to be quite high in the order now, and her feathers are starting to poke out of her skin again, although she still looks ghastly half-naked.  H.W. makes jokes in bad taste about her looking appetizingly half-cooked.

First contact

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The low hen brought a friend ‘round the camper with her.  They seem to get along.  I throw the odd scrap to them and brush crumbs out there, and betweentimes they go scratching in the crunchy leaves nearby, which is loud.  Having two hens around here, I thought that they just might wander over to the Silkies that are parked so near us, and I was hoping I’d witness the event.  (We have the Silkie coop near our camper, which is on the other side of an expansive field from the full-size hen coop and our vehicles/garage/etc).

Not quite.  I heard the Silkies burst out cry-screaming, and I ran out to see, just in time to see a red (full-size) hen sprinting towards me on the path from the coop, head up, eyes wide.  Behind her Snowball the Silkie rooster was thundering along like a stormcloud, head down, wings out, and eyes narrowed. I didn’t have time to turn my camera on before it was over.  The hen streaked past me and kept going, squalling indignantly all the way back to the flock.  The Silkie turned and ran back to his coop, where the little red hen was squealing like a spoiled little rich girl, not scared, but deeply offended.  That was that.  They’ve met, and they don’t get along.  The big hen got seen off.  It wasn’t the low hen, but her friend.

Later HW told me he’d been messing with the birds, trying to coerce an introduction, and he’d wondered why no amount of enticement would get the big hens to pass a certain point on the path to the Silkie coop.

Pet chicken

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We have one pet chicken.

The low hen hangs out by the camper all the time now.  She’s different, very content to be all by herself out here the other side of the field from the flock.  I would too, if being around the rest meant I got feathers pulled out of my head.  She’s the only chicken intrepid enough to follow the path around the field all the way here on her own.  It’s nice, to have the one chicken so close, and I’m glad she can hang out somewhere safe from social pressures.  When I open the door she appears, looking to see if I’m going to throw something.