Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Coming Home to Roost

In Chicken husbandry on September 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Sept. 29th

Tomorrow morning we head to my childhood home in Mississippi to attend my 30th high school class reunion.  We’ll stay at my parent’s house out in the sticks.  Tama will be paid in eggs for her services as my chicken sitter.  I hope the girls are generous.  My dad has about 30 Rhode Island Reds, so I will do a remote chicken diary from Talowah Road featuring his flock.  Shhhhhh don’t tell the girls!  In the meantime, I will leave you with some charming pictures of Jim taking his turn at the grape distribution.  As I was taking these pictures he said, “This better not end up in the chickendiary!”  Poor Jim.

Why am I doing this?

Watch where you're pecking ladies!!!

Blonde girls can't jump.

Is he the cutest or what?  And this is a guy who didn’t want chickens. 🙂

Jurassic Poultry

In Chicken husbandry on September 27, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Sept. 27th

This is what happens when you have the internet and way too much time on your hands!

Palaeontologists have long accepted that birds are a form of dinosaur.  Now the theory that the most feared dinosaur of all, Tyrannosaurus Rex, evolved into the modern-day chicken has been given scientific backing with the discovery of some pre-historic collagen.  Analysis of the collagen has, they say, provided genetic proof of a link to chickens, with both sharing remarkably similar bone structure.  “The analysis shows that T-Rex collagen make-up is almost identical to that of a modern chicken.”–British palaeontologist Dr Angela Milner, of the National History Museum.  The U.S. researchers’ findings, reported in the journal Science, provide the first hard genetic evidence for the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

Why does this not surprise me?  Daisy is almost the size of a T-Rex now and have you seen her feet?


The girls can certainly show ferocity when stalking grapes, bugs and stale bread; and what I’ve seen them do to a frog is unfit for my readership!  Yes, I can see the ancient dinosaur traits present in my chickens…

Daisy-Saurus-Rex, Violet-ceraptor, Rosie-o-saurus

and I’m just a little bit scared.

You SHOULD be! Bwaaaaaaaawk!

Practice Makes Perfect

In Chicken husbandry on September 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Sept. 25th

You know when I said Violet’s first egg was perfect?  Um, I was wrong.  We made a gruesome discovery on Friday when Jim lifted the side of the roof off so I could clean the coop.  Violet had laid three “eggs” previous to her victory egg.  I say “egg” because all three were malformed.  One looked like it had a paper shell and the other two looked like there had been no shell at all.  Most of the chicken books/sites say that the first few eggs may be imperfect.  What’s weird is that Violet didn’t lay any of these egg “experiments” in the nest box.  She waited until she was ready to give us her best work.  Her mistakes were all smashed into the floor of the coop nowhere near the box.  How did she know these first three eggs would not be “nest-worthy”?  Some mysteries of chicken life will never be unravelled.  I wouldn’t want to embarrass her by pointing out these first mistakes.  Don’t mention this to her if you don’t mind.  Like the rest of my family, Violet does not read the chickendiary so she won’t be aware that her imperfections have been broadcast to the general public.  She’s always been a little sensitive anyway. (Perfection is Boring, Jun. 25th.)

Nobody's perfect.

Now regarding that really great egg she laid on Friday…We had it on Saturday morning and of course it was delicious!  And no, I didn’t get my champagne.  It was 7:30 in the morning.  Even I have my limits! I took a picture so you can see how high the yolk stands up.

Yes, my little 5" skillet is very cute.

It was not as hard as Rosie’s egg or as orange.  I guess it’s a breed thing.  I put the little shell next to the other “first” egg and they will stay there guarded by Mr. Owl until Daisy makes her egg debut. 

I give a hoot!

I have a plan to make something crafty with the first three eggs for a devoted reader of the chickendiary.  I’ll debut my masterpiece here when I’m finished and after the mystery girl receives it in the mail.  I know you’re on pins and needles!

We’ve started feeding eggshells to the girls as a supplement to their diet.  I know it seems a little gruesome, almost cannibalistic, but lots of other animals eat their afterbirth to replenish nutrients lost in childbirth– Cats, Dogs, Cows, Tom Cruise; so it’s not really as weird as it seems.  They eat them like candy so they are definitely not freaked out about the practice.  Meanwhile Miss Daisy shows no interest whatsoever in filling our cartons. 

I almost have your half-dozen Lynnessa!

She continues to grow to monstrous proportions, so I’m sure when she does begin laying she’ll produce delightfully jumbo orbs for our enjoyment.  Take your time girl.  We’ll be patient.

I'm just big-boned!


In Chicken husbandry on September 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm
Sept. 23rd

Guess who was my second layer???  At the ripe old age of 22 weeks and 6 days, Miss Violet laid her first egg!  She had been checking out the second floor of the coop for a few days now, her comb had turned bright red and she exhibited the “chicken squat”; all signs of an impending egg.  This morning I saw her snuggled in a nest and I wished her luck as I left for my morning walk.  When I came back, she had left me a small (1.5 oz) tan/pink egg, perfectly formed. (Rosie’s first egg was only 1.25 ounces.)

In yer face Rosie!

I took a photo against a white plate so you could get an idea of the color. 

This egg deserves a standing OVA- tion!

Then I took a photo of the egg next to one of Rosie’s (she’s sitting on a nest as I write this).

The beginnings of a lovely Easter Basket!

I was under the impression that Violet’s eggs would be dark brown, but as I searched the chicken sites, I read from many chicken owners that a Black Australorp can lay any color from light pink to dark brown.  If you send your congratulations to my Violet, please do refrain from putting any pressure on Daisy to lay any time soon.  She is my late bloomer and that’s fine with me.  She’s lucky to be alive and if she never lays an egg she’ll alway have a home and an endless supply of grapes as long as she lives.  Her eggs are supposed to be jumbos and judging from her “full figure” she will more than live up to the challenge.  Yes, I’m going to milk another bottle of champagne out of Jim for the ceremonial “eating of the first egg”.  Maybe this time he’ll get a better bottle and I won’t have to turn the label around for the photo!  Wish me luck!

Hudson’s Hug

In Chicken husbandry on September 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Sept. 21

I just have a cute photo to share with you today.  Hudson is a nifty kid who lives in our neighborhood.  She’s visited the girls a few times but hadn’t held a chicken yet.  She was always a little “chicken”.  Two nights ago her life took on new meaning when she experienced her first chicken hug.  I’m sure it was life-changing for her. 

This kid is actually destined for greatness.  Mark my words, you will see her name in lights someday.  In the meantime, please enjoy her instructional video on U Tube.  She needs more “hits”. 🙂

Be sure to leave a comment!

Justin Time

In Chicken husbandry on September 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Sept. 20th

Hannah brought her latest boyfriend (victim) over to meet the parents (free meal).  Justin’s a very nice kid who loves animals and was more than eager to hold a chicken. (a MUST for all prospective son in-laws). 

Future Farmers of America

Before dinner we had “chicken time” and Violet tried to get some grapes in fermented form. 

I know what that stuff is made of!

Before you call the cops, my kid will be 23 in two weeks.  She’s legal.  And if you see Hannah around town, please tell her she’s too cute to dress like a homeless person!

Disclaimer: I know you’re thinking that my kid will kill me when she reads this post, but never fear; neither she nor my husband read the chickendiary so they are fair game for making fun.  That’s what they get for ignoring great art!

Sister Act

In Chicken husbandry on September 19, 2011 at 7:14 pm
Sept. 19th

My sister and her husband paid us a short visit on Saturday on their way home to Mississippi.  Tim had never visited the Burlingame farm so he got to meet our critters for the first time.  Jo had already met the old lady cats but not the kittens, bunny or chickens.  As always with new visitors, a picture of guests holding chickens is in order.

Hannah, Aunt Jo & Violet

Tim snapped this fabulous picture of Violet jumping for a grape!

The girl's got game!

And of course we had “chicken time”…

Does that camera have any grapes in it?

I’m pretty sure that camera has grapes in it!

Our kid Hannah came over to visit with Aunt Jo & Uncle Timmy. 

Hannah & Violet with their dad.

She managed to make off with the only Rosie egg we had in the fridge.  I’m never going to get my omelette!  Miss Rosie has laid an egg everyday since September 9th. 

Do you mind? I'm busy!

Daisy & Violet show no inclination to produce any ova.

If these ladies don't start laying their new names are gonna be Cacciatore and Tetrazzini!

Later that evening two young ladies stopped by to meet the chickens. They were visiting their grandparents and were on their way to the neighborhood pool.

Avery & Logan meet Violet

I’m always happy to educate the next generation on the joys of chicken husbandry.  🙂

Guess What? Chicken Squat!

In Chicken husbandry on September 16, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Sept. 16th

For this post you might want the children to leave the room.  Two of my chickens are doing something weird.  I skipped over the rooster/breeding/hatching sections of all my chicken books because I didn’t think there was any info in those sections that I needed.  I never intend to invite a rooster in our yard for a “date” with any of the girls.  There is, however, some behavior that would have been explained if I had read further.  Rosie and Violet “squat” down recently when either Jim or I bend down to pet them or try to pick them up.  The first time I saw this move was about a month ago when I reached to grab Rosie.  She squatted and flared her wings out slighty and slightly lifted her tail.  Her body was rigid and she was motionless when I picked her up.  At the time I thought maybe she was just scared of me or perhaps she just had a spasm.  She did this several more times during the next few weeks and now Violet is doing it too.  It’s hard to see in this picture, but I tried to take one of Rosie doing the squat when Jim reached down to pet her.  It looks like he’s squashing her with his hand but that’s really just her body hunched down as far as she can get it.

This photo of Violet is even less clear, but I tried to capture the “squat” move with my camera.

We looked this weirdness up on the “intra-web” and found several comments and explanations on the chicken squat.  The general consensus is that this is a pose of submission by a hen.  She is “inviting” the rooster to come hither. (I told you to get the kids outta the room!)  When you have a group of hens and no boyfriend to keep them company, any superior chicken is perceived as a rooster to them.  In other words, Jim and I are the top chickens and the ladies react instinctively to our hands on their backs as they would to Mr. Foghorn Leghorn making a move on them.  It’s actually kind of cool trick and it makes it very easy to pick them up.  You just have to sneak up from behind, pet their backs, and over half the time, they go into squat position and stay there for a few seconds rigid and motionless.  Our little Daisy is not exhibiting any of this grown-up behavior which leads us to believe that she will be the last to mature and lay eggs.  That’s fine with us.  Daisy had a rough start in life (Near Tragedy, May 18th) and she needs a little more time to be a chick before she becomes a woman. 


I'm NOT a baby!

We look for Miss Violet to be our next layer.  Her eggs should be bigger than Rosie’s and will be dark brown.  Meantime Miss Rosie has layed seven small blue/green eggs in seven days and they have all been perfectly formed.  I’ve only gotten to taste one so far because I’ve been saving a half-dozen for Tama.  After today she will have her prize and Jim and I will hoard our eggs for a while until we have enough for a good omelette!

Egg Watch 2011 Part Trois

In Chicken husbandry on September 14, 2011 at 8:29 pm
Sept. 14th

So far Rosie has laid six perfect eggs in six days!  You go girl! 

I'm tired!

Violet and Daisy had better get crackin’ because I have lots of great chicken recipes!


Rosie, you’re makin’ us look bad!

Neither bird shows any interest in making my breakfast.  Well I’ll just see if we run short of grapes; how do you like that ladies?

A Chick, A Chicken, and a CeCe

In Chicken husbandry on September 13, 2011 at 10:20 am

Sept. 13th

Tama’s lovely and sweet daughter Meggie dropped by the chicken ranch last evening to meet our visitor CeCe.

Violet supervised the meeting.

The Megster has always been a little “chicken” of our chickens.

Daisy the Destroyer!


Meggie is a true animal lover and she makes an effort to befriend all the Burlingame critters.

We like the kid and thinks she’s a fine example of young womanhood.  OK, she is a bit strange, but that’s one of our favorite qualities.  Besides…she gets it from her mother.  Hi Tama!

%d bloggers like this: