Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Bugs Revisited

In Chicken husbandry on May 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm

May 11th

I’ve turned into a monster.  I find myself scouring the yard constantly for tasty creatures to feed my growing girls.  More often than not I find them in my house!  I’m going to stop protesting that my house is clean because obviously it’s a cesspool, teeming with vermin. I can’t go a day without finding a beetle or some other kind of bug, grabbing it between two fingers and sticking the poor bastard between the bars of the “death cage”. 

Rowdy & Sam Stand Guard

No matter how hard I try, I can never give the morsel to anyone but Violet.  She is the smartest, greediest bird in creation.  Often, however, one of her sisters is able to wrest the victim from her beak, but they never get first chomp.  Jim has never been a fan of crawling, slithering or buzzing things, but even he is getting in on the act.  This morning he emerged from the bathroom covered in shaving cream (face, not legs) and nonchalantly handed me a bug.  I took it without comment and dropped it in the cage.  On my morning walk I pick up near-dead but still-buzzing cicadas (Alabama is in the midst of the 13-year locust invasion, look it up) so my chicks have been feasting on the loud bugs for a week now.  They prefer living morsels but will tear apart a dead one in a pinch.  I stop short on catching roly-polys because I’ve always had a soft spot for the little guys.  Same goes for lady bugs, but who knows where this madness will end?  I never thought I’d be peeling flies of my swatter for my chickens and then calmly washing my hands.  When I do this, my husband looks at me in disgust, shakes his head and mutters one word…chickens.  Jim’s a keeper.

Happy Mother’s Day!

In Chicken husbandry on May 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm

May 8th

I have been severely reprimanded for neglecting my Chickendairy, (thanks Beth!) but I do have a good excuse.  Jim and I went home (Mississippi) to see my parents for Mother’s Day Weekend.  I’m back now and very happy to see my little girls have grown while I was gone.  I have not one, but two capable animal sitters when I leave town.  One is my awesome backyard neighbor Terri, who has been taking excellent care of my bunny Buster and my kitties for almost four years.  She politely declined to be the chicken mommy while I was gone but she does have a good reason.  My sweet friend is afraid she’ll get too attached to them and won’t be able to eat chicken anymore!  I totally understand her feelings.  She is a tender-hearted, kind woman and I’m sure she wouldn’t be able to eat nuggets without seeing the faces of Violet, Rosie & Daisy floating before her eyes. 

I however am not so afflicted.  I enjoyed a great chicken meal this weekend at my mom’s house.  I brought the bird from home and cooked it for a family gathering. (Pastured, free-range, organic and certified humanely-raised, thank you very much!) 

My chicken wrangler is my friend and neighbor, Tama who is an animal lover and a doggie/horsey girl.  (Not referring to her appearance, you understand, she’s a lovely woman)  When I asked her to come to my house for a chicken-care briefing she actually brought a clipboard for taking notes!  Is that great or what?  She did a fabulous job and was only pooped upon one time (Daisy).  The girls report that Tama is a chicken-sitter extraordinaire and have requested her services each time we leave town.  They are not quite so smitten with her very tall husband, Dennis however.  And they really hate his red jacket!  I will assure the girls that although this man is freakishly tall (his description, not mine) he has a soft, creamy center and is as gentle as a kitten.  Maybe they are just used to more vertically challenged men. (Jim is tall in character!)

I am blessed to be “mom” to one human child (Hannah, my card has not arrived!) and eight animal children.  I want to give a shout out to the “Pegster”, the greatest mom in the cosmos!  Hope I wasn’t too much trouble!  (Who are we kidding?) Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Flying Lessons

In Chicken husbandry on May 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm

May 3rd

It’s fun to finally have animals who like the Mama more than the Daddy.  Even my own kid liked (and likes) her Dad more than the “Mommymonster”.  My chicks, not so.  They don’t give two hoots (or is it peeps) for Jim.  When I walk up to the cage and say how pretty my little chickens are, they all come to the door and bob their heads in my direction.  Each bird flies out in order (Violet, Rosie then Daisy) and land on my knee as a starting point for their flight exercises. Even Daisy is making her way to me without bonking her head numerous times on the cage door.  I put a towel on top of their cage so they can take a small flight to the top and walk around on it without dropping their feet through the bars.  They march around on their cage for a while and then take flying leaps off and land on the porch.  Most of the time, Violet leads the team on a reconnaissance mission to find anything edible.  Today she found a small spider and led her sisters on a wild chase. 

She dropped the spider and he took cover between the slats of the floor.  Undaunted, she searched until she found one of her own feathers.  She and her sisters pecked at it until they got bored and went over to where Buster was sitting thinking his bunny thoughts.  (His brain is the size of a pecan so his thoughts aren’t too profound)  He then did something he has never done before.  He noticed them and chased them a few feet around the porch. 

When the excitement was over they each hopped back in their cage and drank some water.  I’m not sure what he would have done if he “caught” one.  He’s an herbivore so he has no interest in having a chicken dinner.  Maybe he just thought they needed chasin’!

Pecking Order

In Chicken husbandry on May 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm

May 2nd

OK, the girls have jostled their positions as top chick for a couple of weeks and we now have a clear winner!  Violet is the alpha bird.  She is a benevolent leader and never pecks her sisters unless it looks like they may have a tasty bug or speck of dust on their heads. 

She is the first out of the cage every morning and the first one to pounce on any live food.  Rosie follows Violet and imitates her movements precisely. 

 If Violet practices flight, Rosie is in hot pursuit.  She can’t get as high or go as long, but she gives it her all.  Rosie stays close by Violet’s side when they take their trips around the screened porch and follows her right back into the cage when she goes back in for some water or food. Dear Daisy is my “special” little bird.  She is the last one out of the cage after several failed attempts.  She trails after the other two the best she can but she will get “lost” and cry (peep, peep, PEEP!) if they go beyond her line of site.  When I drop a small bug or half dead fly into their midst (No really, I swear my house IS clean!), Daisy never gets a bite.  I have taken to stalking creatures on my morning walks and bringing home all manner of six-legged snacks to hand feed to my dear little yellow bit of fluff.  I was careful to choose breeds that are supposed to be docile and friendly to people and each other and so far my plan seems to be working.  Although Violet is clearly going to be my bossy little biddy, she is never aggressive or mean to her adoring sisters.  The ladies cuddle together in a heartbreakingly cute pile when they settle down for the night and they really seem to like each other. 

They seem to like me too and that’s the best part.  All the animals in the family love Jim the most but my chicks LOVE ME!  He says it’s because they have the smallest brains in the family. I know it’s because I am such a cool mom.

%d bloggers like this: