Category Archives: Chickens!

Crowing Contest

The roosters are crowing
A contest of sorts
They crow in the morning
They’ve made it a sport

The newer ones start it
Then Pecky joins in
They crow at each other
They cause quite a din

The ladies all flutter
The girls fluff their wings
At four silly roosters
As they crow, call and sing

They started out quiet
Uncertain and muffled
And when they got louder
Some feathers were ruffled

Now it’s a battle
Between old and new
Who can crow louder
The white or the blue?

Xavier Feathersworth: Chapter 2

This is a continuation of the story about Pecky Greenleg and Xavier Feathersworth.  Click here to read chapter 1.

This is based in fact. We really did lose one of our new roosters to an unknown assailant. 

*   *   *

“Murder! There’s been a murder!”

“Who was it?” peeped Esther.

“Who did it?” cheeped Hilda.

“Who’s next?” asked a calm and unusually confident Pecky.

The hens fell silent. Pecky had never spoken with such authority before…and the hens didn’t like it one bit.

“Well, it won’t be me,” said Mildred.

“Oh it won’t be any of us,” snapped Esther. “It happened in the other coop, not ours.”

“That doesn’t mean it can’t happen in this one,” said Pecky.

Puffing out their feathers, they all turned their backs to Pecky and continued speculating, a bit unnerved by Pecky’s question.

They should be nervous.

He and Xavier Feathersworth had come up with a plan to eliminate all the roosters in the smaller flock.

You see, Xavier was just as miserable as Pecky. Just as picked on. Just as fed up. Last night, Xavier had carried out step one in the plan.

Sir Hubert McFeatherington, the former leader of Xavier’s flock, had disappeared without a trace.

Only a pile of feathers and 7 nervous chickens remained.

As Pecky paced the run, he saw Xavier approaching.

“Well?” said Pecky.

“It’s done.”

Pecky sighed.

“How are the others in your flock taking it?” he asked.

“They saw the attack on Sir Hubert so they’re are nervous and scared,” said Xavier.

“How did it…how did you do it?” asked Pecky.

“I made a deal.”

“A deal?!”

“I couldn’t very well do it myself,” he said defensively.

“No, I suppose not,” said Pecky. “So…what attacked him?”

“An opossum.”

“That was quite a risk,” said Pecky, eying him with shock. He’d never heard of any chicken making a deal with a predator.

Pecky was a little in awe of Xavier.

Xavier was a bit worried about “the deal”.

“Wh-what was the deal?”

Xavier turned his head and picked at a few feathers before answering.

“You.”

To be continued…

 

 

Zounds!

Rain.

Rain.

More rain.

Really, that’s all that’s been happening over the past few days.

It rains, then comes in sheets, then pours buckets all over the land.

Our swales are full.

Our yard is full.

Our property is full.

Zounds!

A large mote ran around us for over a day. Ray was checking the basement almost constantly and I was pacing nervously, worried about a flood.

We had small breaks. During one, I went and pulled the smaller chickens inside. They had a tote for cover, but the ground was so full of water that it started to pool so I thought pulling them in would be kinder then leaving them to the elements.

Hopefully they agreed.

And still it rained on.

The water washed over the road.

Cars had to slowly wade through.

Our fedge was drowning.

I’m sure the kiwi are angry. The leaf edges had already started to turn black from too much water.

And still…it rained.

On.

And on.

And on.

 

Xavier Feathersworth

Sir Hubert McFeatherington is the leader of his flock.

The hens adore him and the other three roosters fear him.

Xavier Feathersworth was his faithful follower.

He’s the lieutenant and Sir Hubert is the general.

Yet, as they’ve grown together, Xavier has started to become…resentful.

Resentful because the other roosters pick on him while Sir Hubert just laughs.

And with this growing resentment, Xavier has started to become…disloyal to Sir Hubert…and his own flock.

One day, after a particularly painful pecking, Xavier quietly escaped through a gap in the run and darted over to the older flock to talk with their leader.

Pecky Greenleg.

 

Pecky and a few of his hens were out in the pen. They turned toward him when he cleared his throat.

“Hmmm,” said one of the hens. “What do we have here?”

“Looks like a little rooster,” said another hen.

Pecky eyed Xavier warily. The hens, who had no respect for Pecky gave a few sharp pecks and wandered up the ramp to eat.

Xavier’s heart fell. A henpecked rooster would not be able to help him.

“What do you want?” Pecky asked, embarrassed by the hen’s treatment of him.

“Well, I had hoped…but nevermind,” mumbled Xavier as he turned to go.

“Wait! Why did you came all this way?”

Xavier turned back and saw a desperate yet hopeful gleam in his eyes.

“I was hoping to find a new leader for my flock. A leader big and strong enough to put the other roosters to shame.”

Pecky looked at Xavier thoughtfully, then turned and looked at his raw, red back and his lack of tail feathers.

Maybe, this was his chance to start over with a new flock.

“Tell me more,” Pecky said, smiling as much as a henpecked rooster could smile.

To be continued…

Underneath

Underneath the vineyard
Tiny buds appear
Are they signs of kiwi?
Will this be the year?

Underneath the chicken run
Small pullets play and fight
Fluttering and flying low
Huddled up at night

Underneath the playset
Two boys rest with a treat
Chocolate pudding faces
Sticky smiles so sweet

Underneath the lovage
A little kitty purrs
Hiding, yawning, napping
Cleaning all her fur

Underneath the bright blue sky
The wind blows soft and strong
Greens and yellows dot the land
Summer won’t be long



Okra (et al.)

Today I planted okra
Lettuce, spinach, kale
And one sad tomato
All crooked, bent and frail

Worms in every spadeful
Wiggling in the dirt
A few big nasty grubs
A little chick dessert

Next I planted flowers
And cilantro all around
Bush beans in the garden
Carrots in the ground

I looked down at my hands
When everything was done
Dirt and mud had crusted
My fingers…every one

And then I heard the laughter
The sound of running feet
I looked up from the garden
And got an awful treat

Two boys armed with squirt guns
Had come to chase me off
They giggled, smiled and shouted
Hey Mom! It’s time to stop!

Nourishment

We move the chicks outside to the run every day. The boys fight over who gets to pick them up, transport them and put them in the pen.

Then, they both eagerly hop in and start digging.

They like nothing better than to feed the chicks live worms.

They get the biggest kick out of the little pecks and tweets and fights that break out when they hold a wriggly worm in the air.

As I sat watching, I wondered at the chicks lack of fear with the boys. They hopped on their laps, walked right up to them and came running to a “hear chickie, chickie”.

“Why don’t they do that with me?”

“Come in here Mommy, and they will.”

And then I realized that it’s time. Time is the key.

It’s not enough for me to feed and water them and occasionally pick one up. Time spent playing with and holding them is what makes the difference.

Time. And patience.

I would never describe either of my boys as patient. Yet in this, they are more patient than I am.

They will sit and coax a chick into their laps and not get frustrated when it doesn’t come right away.

Yet, I see them lose patience with so many other things.

Joe gets in a huff when he can’t do something well the first time he does it.

Jake loses all patience when he can’t get the wrapper on his cheesestick off.

But maybe it’s because these “other” things are just not in their control. They have to rely on someone else to help them.

Maybe thats where the frustration comes from.

Playing with the chicks, nourishing them and coaxing them to be comfortable is not frustrating for the boys.

On a weird level, they connect with that vulnerability.

The chick is at their mercy. The chick is relying on them.

There is really no magic to the chicken whispering.

There is just time.

 

 

My Dear Mr. Greenleg

Pecky has been through a lot
His feathers look so sad
He’s constantly attacked by hens
They’re really very bad

He never tries to fight back
He never tries to win
Every time we let him out
He tries to get back in

You can’t control your chickens
You can’t command your flock
These girls have got you beaten
They only need to squawk

My dear Mr. Greenleg
Oh how you make me cringe!
I want you with the others
Not hanging on the fringe

Juveniles

The teenage chickens are hormonal.

Their pecks are starting to bite a bit and they are getting on each other’s nerves.

If Cheep Cheep makes the mistake of trying to eat at the same time as Yellow Feather, fighting breaks out.

If Fluffy takes a drink too close to Flappy, a battle begins.

And if Fin tries to cuddle up with Sir Hubert McFeatherington…the gloves come off and the pecking gets even more aggressive.

They definitely have some of their mothers’ traits. Some of them are calm, cool and collected, but the two that I think are roosters are angry juveniles fighting for the alpha position.

Enter the chicken whisperers.

Since it is such a nice day, we decided to bring them out to their run for a little fresh air and sunshine.

I don’t know if it because they had more room, or because the chicken whisperers were in the run with them, but they were instantly calmer and spent the time exploring their new surroundings and climbing all over the boys.

I dread putting them all back in their dank tank in the garage. They seem so happy hopping and flapping around the run, and the boys love being in there with them.

But they sure did get a treat today.

Two boys control them
Softly soothing with whispers
Held gently with love

Greatness 

I stand up on the water
And stretch my neck out long
I know that I am different
Just listen to my song

I’m destined to do great things
And all the hens agree
I’m unique and I’m special
Just take a look and see

I’m leader to this small flock
I protect them from the night
No cats or rats get past me
Without a feathery fight

So listen to my warning
Make sure you get the scoop
My name is Sir Hubert Mc–
Oops…did I just poop?