Category Archives: Chickens!

Here a Chick, There a Chick

I was not sure I wanted to get a new flock of birds this year. I wasn’t ready to go through the chick stage. But…two pair of pleading eyes and a pandemic convinced me otherwise. We wouldn’t be going anywhere for awhile, so why not?

We knew we wanted Buff Orpingtons. The two we already have are friendly and docile and good layers.

Screenshot_20190608-181151_Gallery.jpg

As it turned out, we were not the only ones in search of Buffs. Every time we called the store they had just sold the last one.

We called a farm supply store a few towns over and they assured us they had 8 Buffs in stock. Ray and the boys hopped in the truck and went to get them while I got their first home ready.

They came home with 2 Buffs and 6 Golden Comets. As chicks, they have a similar appearance, and Ray was just ready to end the search and get the chicks.

wp-1586208304684.jpg

Golden Comets are sweet and docile, excellent egg layers and kid-friendly.

wp-1589391196674.jpg

Golden Comet

Buff Orpingtons are calm and stately, good egg layers and love to be cuddled.

wp-1589391196552.jpg

Buff Orpington

We are very happy with our purchase. The chicks are all about a month or so old now and quickly outgrowing each new “house” we put them in.

wp-1589391192811.jpg

The boys are ecstatic and cuddle them all the time. They have even started construction on a small coop for them.

wp-1589391193074.jpg

We had planned to move the new birds into the coop and retire the older birds, but the Old Guard must have taken our threats seriously. Since we brought the chicks home, the flock of five has started laying eggs daily again. We may have to try introducing new hens into an old flock and hope it goes better than the last time.

wp-1589391192442.jpgwp-1589391194234.jpgwp-1589391192596.jpg

 

Cats and Chicks

A cat approached a chick and said,
“My aren’t you a treat!”
The chick chirped and then replied,
“Oh no, I taste like feet!”

The clever cat just smiled and winked,
“I think not, my dear.”
“You see, I’ve sampled chick before,”
the cat said with a leer.

“Ah yes,” the chick said, thinking fast,
“I’m sure your meal was grand.
But if you try to chomp up me
I think you’ll understand.”

“You see, I just had chicken feed
and it was very good.
But to a cat, it may be bland,
and taste like rotten wood.”

But the sly old cat could not be tricked
and with eyes bright and green,
took one big bite, one noisy gulp*,
then licked her white paws clean.

*This is a work of fiction, no chicks were harmed in the writing of this poem.

Revenge

This poem is a collaboration with my nieces and my two boys. Enjoy!

Mean old Bully Bertha,
our clueless, speckled hen,
was mean to Cyclops Jenny,
our one-eyed little friend.

While Jenny planned and plotted,
Bertha pecked and picked.
Our Jenny’s plan was simple.
“I’ll get that mean ol’ chick!”

When all the hens were sleeping,
she shuffled through the hay.
Her evil laugh was quiet
as she approached her prey.

The only sound big Bertha made
was a squawk of great surprise.
Then Jenny made the final blow
and pecked out both her eyes!

20190301_125542.jpg

Cyclops

We have a one-eyed chicken.
She’s tiny, gray and white.
Smaller than the others,
full of fear and fright.

The bigger hens don’t like her.
They treat her with disdain.
They block her from the shelter,
and leave her in the rain.

But I know her little secret.
Her brilliant plan, perhaps.
While the others mock and scorn her,
She gets all the kitchen scraps!

20181111_134445.jpg

 

Skunked

We got lazy with the hens
and didn’t lock them in their pens.
For a time, there was no harm.
Then, the girls raised the alarm.

One buff chick was in the cage,
pacing back and forth in rage.
She gave an angry shout
when we finally came out.

We heard rustles, angry cries.
Puffy feathers, beady eyes.
Then, we saw the little punk…
a big, striped, stinky skunk!

20190301_125544.jpg

Winterizing

The day it snowed
the chickens crowed,
“What is the fluffy stuff?”

Their feet were cold,
they were not bold,
they fled back in a huff.

I changed their bed
and got them fed,
then had a little talk.

“Look here dear hens,
I’ve cleaned your pens,
start laying eggs or walk.

Their feathers puffed,
they squawked and huffed,
“Just give us one more try!”

I shrugged and clucked,
“You’re out of luck.
Start laying eggs or–…!”

Diary of a Chicken Day 87

87 Days in Captivity

Dear Diary,

We continue our voyage across the green lake. The Stick Monsters are pushing us further and further away from the Big Box. We are not sure what purpose this serves, but it seems to make the Stick Monster happy.

20180425_141657.jpg

Every morning this week, when the guillotine door opens, the Stick Monster pelts vegetable peelings and strawberry tops at us as we exit. What fresh torture is this? My cellmates run squawking from the box in effort to escape these missiles.

Still no word from the raccoon. We sent Bertha out to talk to him before lock down, but she escaped and we have not heard from her since. The lucky hen is free now and has forgotten about her sisters in captivity.

Yesterday, the Stick Monsters cleaned the box, destroying our carefully made beds…again.

Fluffy and Mildred were so upset that they flapped around and knocked the temporary door off the cage. For a brief, blissful time, we escaped. Our freedom was short-lived, however. The Stick Monster sent the Twig Beasts after us and soon we were imprisoned once more.

20180514_150333.jpg

The Stick Monster installed a strange light outside the box. Once dark, it turns on every time we move. At first, we hated it, but then it brought a crunchy, flying snack. We stayed up all night catching these winged treats. This made the Stick Monster angry and the light was disabled.

Fluffy is going to try and hide behind the silver water tower tonight. Hopefully she can make contact with the raccoon so we can plan our escape. Maybe he can take us one at a time so as not to look so suspicious.

I guess we’ll see.

–Roadrunner, Imprisoned in the Prairie

 

 

Diary of a Chicken

63 Days in Captivity

Dear Diary,

We’ve started our voyage across the green lake. The Wingless Bird will not let us stay in one spot for more than a few days now that we’ve destroyed the green jungle. It doesn’t seem angry though. More excited. Strange.

20180425_141706.jpg

Our eggs are still being taken. We’ve tried hiding them under the straw at the back of our box, but the Wingless Ones found them. They are far too clever for us. What could they be doing with all those eggs?

We met a raccoon on the outside who has agreed to help us. All he wants in return is a tasty snack. We’ve tried meeting him, but the Wingless Ones are ruthless in their determination to keep us in prison. They lock us up in the box every night and don’t let us out until sunrise.

20180425_141657.jpg

We almost succeeded in our escape last week when they opened the big door to, once again, demolish our freshly made beds. If only Fluffy hadn’t gotten distracted by that worm.

20180425_141653.jpg

Next time, we’ll leave her behind.

–Roadrunner, Imprisoned in the Prairie

 

 

 

Fresh Eggs Again!

We were just about to place an order for Red Star chicks when we got the phone call. Eleven hens about 6 months old, needed a new home. Did we want them?

YES!

Not only are they already laying eggs, they are well past the delicate chick stage and have entered the full-grown egg laying stage. We have Buff Orpingtons, Bard Rocks, Silver Spangled Hamburgs and Silver-laced Polish.

20180311_165012.jpg

Ray spent the next few days repairing the coop and making the run more secure. All we had to do was figure out how to transport them.

We had an old dog crate, a big piece of plywood and a few 2×4’s. We were able to rig up a chicken transporter.

We took our two chicken whisperers and wrangled 11 birds. I thought we’d need to make a couple of trips, but they all fit in the crate nicely so we made a slow trek back to the house and put them in their new home.

20180311_165242.jpg

The poor dears were frightened when we put them in their new hen house, but that didn’t last long.

Once they saw the kitchen garden, they eagerly attacked it and decimated all weeds and remaining pests in a matter of days. They scratched and dug and pecked their way through roots and shoots and found all kinds of yummy bugs and grubs to munch on.

20180312_085940.jpg

We didn’t think we would get any eggs from them for at least a few days, but they surprised us. By the end of their first full day on the homestead, they’d given us 6 eggs of assorted size and color.

20180312_165130.jpg

The six eggs on the left are from the girls while the four on the right are from the store. 

And these hens? They are…nice. No hand pecking, no angry sqwaucks, no evil plots.

Maybe, just maybe, we can get along. (Fingers crossed.)

Full-grown hens this time
Already laying brown eggs
Nice, friendly and calm

Spring is on the Way!

I have a confession…I have lost my motivation. 

Not for homeschooling. Our year so far has been wonderful. I love the freedom we have to alter our day as we see fit. The boys are thriving and we are having fun. 

Not for writing…I’m still researching publishing houses, sending my work out to magazines and adding to my collection of rejection letters.  

No, what I’ve lost my motivation for is planning the garden.

I have no idea where it went. Perhaps the fox stole it when he ruthlessly slaughtered our chickens or the Japanese beetles killed it with their constant assault on the garden.  

20170630_094607

In an effort to find that lost drive, I looked back at the goals we set at the start of the year. What progress have we made?

  • Start and plant seeds early. Uh…nope.
  • Prepare for the war with pests. Specifically, you guessed it, Japanese Beetles. Well…it has been really, really cold. I’m hopeful that most of the grubs will have frozen to death resulting in fewer beetles. And…I do plan to hit the yard with another treatment of milky spore in Spring.
  • Really, really, REALLY create a strategy for keeping up with the weeds. ?
  • Get that greenhouse going for Spring crops. Well…it has been really, really cold…
  • Order replacement chickens. Hmmm…

After reading through these goals and realizing I’ve done little nothing to meet them, my enthusiasm is in overdrive and my mind is whirring with ideas, wants and wishes. There is so much to do! With the last frost date only a few months away, there are plans to make, seeds to start and chicks to order. 

The first step? Inventory seeds and drool over this gorgeous seed catalog. Oh, and try not to go overboard this year. Again. 

20180202_221538.jpg

Motivation found
Time to plan, start and order
Spring is on the way