Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

Little House on the Waters

In Chicken husbandry on August 30, 2011 at 2:16 am

Aug. 30th

Sorry, it’s been a while between chickendiaries, but Jim and I have been frantically working on a little project.  We bought a small house in our neighborhood and we’re fixing it up for renters who move in on Thursday.  The pace has been hectic since we had someone wanting to rent before we even closed, so I haven’t had much time for chicken activities.  The girls are being a bit neglected but they are getting their ice water, fan, watermelon, food and grapes every day.  Do not worry about the spoiled little ladies.  I will go back to the white-hot focus of chickenology as soon as the renters are in and settled.  I’ll take a photo of the cottage when I’m finished with the yard.  It is very cute. 

The girls are growing more beautiful every day.  This Saturday will mark their 20 week birthday and this is the official beginning of EGG WATCH 2011!!!  I check the nest boxes several times a day and I think when I finally see an egg I just might burst into flames!  I am so excited.  Here are some photos of my lovelies.  Chickens are truly nature’s jewelry.  (I used to say that about tree frogs.)  Click on the pictures to enlarge.  They are much better that way. 🙂

Daisy & Rosie practicing their walk for the MISS WORLD CHICKEN PAGEANT.

Those chicks don't stand a chance! I got this in the bag!

Do these feathers make me look fat?

No Daisy, you are absolutely perfect.

Chicken Cannot Live by Grapes Alone

In Chicken husbandry on August 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Aug 24th

Sometimes the unthinkable happens and I run out of grapes.  I do my best to satisfy my spoiled chickens but they sure can give me some funny looks when I offer them any other treats but their beloved orbs of deliciousness.

These ain't grapes! (Rosie has terrible grammar)

You're kidding, right?

These are better than nuthin' but next time you might lose a finger!

Parting Shots!  Violet and Daisy SHAKE A TAIL FEATHER!

Violet, mid-shimmy.

Daisy, mid-flight.

Violet’s Vitals

In Chicken husbandry on August 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Aug 21st

Violet is looking like a chicken beauty-queen these days.  I don’t think the girls really look like full-grown chickens until they get their combs and wattles.  Wattles are those red thingies on chicken faces.  Violet has a “single comb”.  There are actually seven types of combs and some are extremely weird. 

Violet is an Australorp which is one of the Heritage breeds. This is her description given by :

Australorps are the Australian take on the Orpington breed. They are calm and friendly, and excellent layers of light brown eggs. The Australorp’s exceptionally soft, shiny black plumage has hints of green and purple in the sunlight. Peaceful and dignified, Australorps are an absolutely delightful bird which we highly recommend to anyone who wants a pet chicken that lays dependably.

 Yep, this is my Violet to a T.  I took a photo of her recently in all her chicken glory.  Isn’t she an astonishingly beautiful creature?

Click on me to enlarge for greater admiration.

You might be asking, “What exactly is a heritage breed chicken?” (OK, I’ll tell you even if you didn’t ask.)  This term refers to the breeds that are a true genetic breed with an established and continuously breeding population since 1925 and that can naturally mate. Animals used for food & eggs have been bred into Frankenstein versions of themselves for the convenience of the industrialized food system.  The chickens that lay “grocery store” eggs are breeds that would never naturally occur in nature.  They are incapable of breeding the old-fashioned way and they live short, sad lives.  Folks interested in sustainable food sources and humanely treated animals look for a heritage breed for meat, eggs and pets.  You can find eggs from heritage chickens at your local farmer’s market, or you can just get on Debbie’s Egg List and I’ll make sure you get our surplus.  When the girls start laying, (about two weeks) we will happily provide eggs to anyone who asks.  We won’t sell them because technically we’d have a commercial business in our back yard and this is prohibited by our neighborhood bylaws.  Rowdy tried out the nest box today to see if it would be comfortable enough for egg-laying. 

Pretty Comfy!

Did I get off the topic of Violet’s Vitals a bit?  Sorry.  This is a subject very near to my heart.  By the way, Violet is waiting for your answer…

Astonishingly beautiful or WHAT?!?

Two Chicks Come Home to Roost

In Chicken husbandry on August 18, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Aug 16th

Whew!  Glad to be home.  It was great seeing my Aunt & Uncle, but it’s always good to get back home to my critters.  My mom (we all call her Peg Peg) fed the girls treats on the evening we got back. 

My buddies Tama & Dennis stopped in for a visit too.  Daisy thought that Tama’s floral dress looked tasty. She kept trying to eat a flower.

Ouch! Rosie, go easy on the BUTTercups!

Daisy, that is NOT a melon!

More tomorrow.  I must unpack and clean up three different kinds of critter poop.  My life is rich and full.

Chickmommy’s MOMMY!

In Chicken husbandry on August 12, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Aug 12th

I’m off for a short trip to Ole Virginny this weekend.  Jim has another trip to the Pentagon and this time I decided to tag along.  We’re also taking my mom with us so she can visit with her dear little bro and his beautiful wife who live in Springfield. (See you tomorrow Uncle Sonny & Aunt Carol!)  Chickendiary will be on hiatus until Wednesday, but I wanted to leave you with a very cute picture of Peggy & Daisy.  These are two of my favorite Chicks!

I'm a grandchicken?

Chicken Bone

In Chicken husbandry on August 10, 2011 at 2:29 pm
Aug. 10th

I keep waiting for something spectacular to happen so I have a blog topic, but the girls are just going about their chicken business–scratching, chasing, clucking, preening, flying, fighting, eating and pooping. I thought I should at least throw you a bone before you lost interest and stopped reading!  The ladies did meet a new neighbor this week.  My friend Wendy brought her little family over to have a chicken encounter.  None of them had ever held chicken before and some seemed more comfortable with it than others.

You look like a pro Wendy!

Chicken holding...not so much.

Little Kyleigh plans to return when she gets her sea legs so she can do some chasin’! 

Here is a lovely picture of my little golden girl…

Jim's feet are the same color as Daisy's!

and a great group shot of the beauty queens.

Rowdy & Sam like to go my neighbor Terri’s yard to play “Wildcats on the African veldt”. 

What shall we kill today Sammy?

Their imaginations are quite lively! 

I'm up for some widebeest Rowdy. Whaddya say?

 I recently ordered chicken “big girl” food from an organic feed store in Virginia.  It ain’t cheap but hey, if you want organic eggs you have to get organic food.  I’m mixing the new layer feed with their old chick grower feed so they get used to the taste.  In about four weeks they’ll be completely on layer feed and we should get our first egg.  I have a closet full of egg cartons I’ve been saving for the occasion. At least I have the answer to the age-old question, which came first.  In my house it, was definitely the chicken.

A Chicken in Every Pot–Make that YARD!

In Chicken husbandry on August 7, 2011 at 12:00 am

Aug 6th

I’m sure this is what President Hoover really meant!

Wut you talkin’ bout Herbert!

A friend and neighbor saved me a recent article in the Wall Street Journal about Urban Chickens.  (Thanks, Andrew!) The article is from Aug. 2nd and describes a recent trend in revising “chicken laws” in many major cities.  Some urban neighborhoods are not only changing their ordinances due to demand by residents to own chickens, but are also hosting “coop tours” to show off some of the more inventive poultry palaces.  Austin has the Funky Chicken Coop Tour, Portland has the Tour de Coops, and Dallas has A Peep at the Coops.  One lady showed off her fancy coop and her hens, Buffy the Wormslayer, Mother Clucker, and Attila the Hen.  “Coop tours are a sign that more city dwellers are becoming interested in urban farming and raising chickens. Pittsburg passed an ordinance requested by residents earlier this year that enables people to keep up to three chickens on a 2,000 sq. ft. lot.” (WSJ, 8/2/11) Closer to home, some neighborhoods in and around Birmingham have similar guidelines for urban chickens. As far as I know there is only one coop in our neighborhood and anyone is welcome to take a tour any time. 

Still Life With Chicken

If you are interested in having your own little backyard petting zoo, I can recommend two great websites to help guide you through the process.  is the largest and fastest-growing community of chicken enthusiasts in the world. is a wonderful site for beginning chicken mommies and daddies.  I use both sites regularly.  The latter even has a “chicken-chooser” tool that lets you pick the perfect chicken breed or breeds for your family.  That’s how we chose Daisy, Violet and Rosie and it obviously worked for the B’games.  We couldn’t be happier with our little brood.  The girls are 16 weeks old today.  We should expect our first egg in about four weeks.  Anyone wish to place a wager on who is first?  My money is on Daisy.  She owes us 275 bucks!

Daisy's best side

Happy Hens

In Chicken husbandry on August 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Aug 3rd

I wish I had some exciting chicken news to impart, but the past few days have been hot, quiet, and frankly boring.  The girls have their chicken routine as do I.  It’s been extra hot this week so I let them free range as often as I can.  They find their shady little dirt spot and take their dust baths…

 They destroy the last of the vegetable garden…

 And they pose for the camera like they think they’re on AMERICA’S TOP CHICKEN…

Hubba Hubba!

Do these feathers make my butt look big?

The Bearded Lady!

Sabrina, Kelly & Jill (Who gets this one?)

I keep ice water in their coop and feed them frozen fruit during the hottest part of the day.  It’s a good thing I don’t work in the summer so I can devote all my time to chicken tending. (OK, I do some yard work, housekeeping and cooking once in a while.)  The weather will be cooler this fall when I go back to my grueling two days of teaching so I won’t feel so bad that the girls have to stay “cooped” up more than usual.  Here are some un-posted pictures for your entertainment.  Enjoy. 

Too HOT to cuddle!

"Teenaged" Daisy

And this one is a sweet picture of Daisy after her accident I never posted. (Near Tragedy, May 12)  No, those hairy hands aren’t mine.

Daddy Jim

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