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The Final Chickendiary

In Backyard chickens, changing urban chicken laws, chicken coop, Chicken husbandry, eggs, New Urbanist, urban chickens on February 1, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Feb. 1st, 2012

First, an update on the girls.  I stopped by yesterday after volunteering at the Humane Shelter.  The farm was quiet and there was no one around but three restless chickens.  They’re not finished with the fence, so the girls were still enclosed in their coop.  I had grapes with me, so I fed them in turn through a crack in the door.  I’d like to pretend they knew me and were happy to see me, but it was probably just the grapes. 🙂  I refilled their water  and snatched a Daisy egg from the nest box.  (I’m getting to be such an outlaw!)  I will see them again on Thursday when the Montessori students meet Rosie, Violet & Daisy for the first time.  I will lead the students to meet the girls wearing my beautiful chicken suit.

I hope the parents aren’t afraid for their children to be escorted by “Miss Debbie Chicken”.  I am an actual teacher, licensed by the state of Alabama, so I’ve had a thorough background check.

This is my 133rd post.  I began the chickendiary on April 27th, 2011, nine months and four days ago. It has been one of the great joys of my life.  Thank you for reading and responding to the ravings of a slightly obsessed madwoman.  Kindly leave your comments at the end of this final post so they will be enshrined in the chickendiary in perpetuity.  🙂 I’d like to close with acknowledgements and expressions of gratitude.

To our neighbor who waged an eight month campaign to evict our pets–The victory is yours my friend.  I hope it was sweet.  My Aunt Carol said it best and I quote, “It ‘s a shame the board makes you give up your chickens but allows a turkey to stay!”

And to all our supportive, fun-loving, forward-thinking friends who brought their families to our back yard to gather eggs, feed grapes and pose for fotos with fowl–Thank you for sharing this adventure with us.  It was a wild ride and we don’t regret a thing.

Mike, the Chicken Whisperer

Meggie & Daisy

Layla & Riley

Hannah (our kid) & Daisy

Andrés Duany & Violet

And to Dr. Glasscock, who saved Daisy’s life after the feral cat trauma–Thank you for your skill and kindness.  She was worth it, wasn’t she!

And to Robert, from the FEED LOT (shameless plug) who helped us pick out three little balls of fluff from a galvanized tub in your store–You are a fabulous pet-picker!

Daisy

Violet

Rosie

And to Dennis and Tama, our excellent “chicken sitters”–Thanks for your time and effort and letting us take an occasional vacation.

To Terri, our sweet backyard neighbor who lived in harmony with our girls for nine months (even though she is not a “chicken person”) 🙂

Miss Terri & Ce Ce

And to Jim, who spent countless hours and labor building chicken structures and countless dollars paying for vet bills and pricey organic chicken feed– I thank you from the very bottom of my heart.  Not many husbands would indulge their crazy wives in such a way.  I hate to embarrass you, but here goes…I love you.

The Coop Debut, May 30th, 2011

Chickendaddy

And to Daisy, Rosie & Violet–Thank you for being the sweetest, prettiest, silliest, smartest chicks a girl could ever know.  I’ll miss you very much.  Please be good at your new home and never forget your chickmommy.

Signing off–Deb

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The Girls Get Their “15 Minutes”

In Backyard chickens, Chicken husbandry, urban chickens on January 30, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Jan. 30th, 2012

Yesterday our neighbor Josh visited the ladies for the first time.  Josh is a professional photographer and he shot the girls for a story in a RSVP, a bi-monthly magazine that highlights entertainment and activities in the River Region.  Look for it in the next issue of RSVP.  Go here to see it online:

http://www.rsvp-montgomery.com/

The girls were cooperative models with the help of a few grapes.

Be sure and get my good side!

Daisy hogged the camera for her moment in the sun…

Check me out!

Who's a dumb blonde now, Violet?

Thanks Josh!  We can’t wait to see the girl’s magazine debut.  We hope this is just the beginning of their meteoric rise to fame!

Neighbor-Palooza!

In Backyard chickens, Chicken husbandry, eggs, urban chickens on January 28, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Jan. 28th, 2012

Word has gotten around that the Chickens’ days are numbered, so many neighbors have “flocked” to our back yard to say their final farewell.  Many of these are first-timers!  Morgan & Miss Kitty brought their grandson Difley.

He was fortunate to find a Daisy egg in the nest box!

This morning we had three lovely ladies and a handsome young gentleman visit our girls.

Jennifer

Kim

Aubrey & Ever

Good pals and chicken champions extraordinaire, Ron & Renay dropped in for a final visit.

Daisy is almost too much for little Renay!

And from up the hill, Donna and Jeff stopped in.

Finally, our neighbor Tommy visited our girls for the first time and picked a Violet from my yard.

My Aunt Carol remarked that I’m “savoring every last moment” I have with my pets and she’s right.  This morning we even “savored” our last three-egg omelette.

I cooked one from each girl and served it with some cheese grits.  (I did share with Jim!)

They leave their home of nine months Monday afternoon.  Tomorrow night will be the final evening we have “chicken time”.  I invite my chicken posse to drop by around 5:00 Sunday night for a glass of wine, and to watch the ladies ascend the stairs for the last time in the B’game back yard.  I shall endeavor to maintain my composure, but I ain’t makin’ any promises.

Moist and Juicy Chicken Recipe

In Backyard chickens, Chicken husbandry, urban chickens on January 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Jan. 25, 2012

Take three free range, organic chickens…

Towel please!

Mix well with 5 days of pouring rain…

Make it stop Mommy!

Sprinkle liberally with grapes…

Can we please sleep inside?

Enjoy!

A Meaningful Gift

In Backyard chickens, changing urban chicken laws, Chicken husbandry, urban chickens on January 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Jan. 24, 2012

My friend Skeeter brought a gift to my house last night that made me blubber like a baby.  Skeeter’s mom & dad have a farm.  They have a garden and animals and Brenda has regularly blessed our house with gifts of food from her home.  In return she’s sampled some eggs from my little stamp of earth and not much else.  We’ve swapped stories about our animals, families and the current movement in some circles to find wholesome, humanely raised food for our table.  The woman is smart, funny and incredibly generous.  Skeeter has kept her abreast of my battle to keep the girls and the unfortunate result we got on Friday.  The timing of my friend’s present did much to lift my spirits at a time when they needed lifting.  Get a load of this…

Click on it to get a closer look.  This is an old timey cheese-wheel box.  Brenda lifted photos from the chickendiary to make a decoupage masterpiece.  You can plainly see enlarged photos of Violet, Rosie and Daisy and other images from my posts.  Look carefully at the broken pieces of egg scattered throughout the scene.  These are actually fragments of the eggs I sent her in weeks past.  The background is green grass and chicken wire.  But this is just the outside….

Inside she lined the box with chicken fabric which is also decoupaged to a lovely sheen.  She included a sweet note as well.  I would show you the back, but it has a little return address sticker on it with her home address as well as a photo of a jaunty rooster.  She painted a pink breast cancer ribbon (I had no idea she knew about that), and the date of the gift.  There are even little felt feet on the bottom of the box.  Needless to say, when Skeeter and her daughter Hudson brought the gift, the dam broke and I boo-hooed.  It’s not the first time I’ve had a bit of a pity party over this whole thing, but the kindness of this one person edged out (for a moment) the whole frustrating, painful experience of giving up my pets.  And here’s the kicker folks…I’ve never even met her.  Thanks Brenda, and thanks Skeeter for introducing me to your very cool mom.  We’ll meet in person after the weather clears when we can make the journey to your little slice of heaven.  “Thank you” doesn’t quite cover it.  I’ll find some way.  🙂

And The Rains Came

In Backyard chickens, Chicken husbandry, urban chickens on January 21, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Jan. 21st

It has been raining for 40 days and 40 nights.  OK, it just feels like it.  The girls are enjoying all the bugs that are coming up for air from our saturated yard and they are absolutely filthy!  The “wet” shows up especially on Daisy’s gold feathers so I subjected her to a photo shoot when she was not looking her best.  Click on the pictures to really see this messy little girl.

Wet is not a good look for me.

I could really use a blow dryer.

Can Daddy build an ark?

Since my sad post yesterday I have received a few interesting offers from some great folks who want to give my chickens a good home.  You really find out how wonderful people can be when you have an experience like this.  I shall keep you posted regarding the girl’s fate.  I can assure you, they will be placed where they can continue to be spoiled, happy chickens.  Stay tuned and try to stay dry.

Cross All Your Fingers and Feathers

In Backyard chickens, changing urban chicken laws, Chicken husbandry, urban chickens on January 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Jan. 20th

At 2:00 today we have a meeting with our property manager and a board member to determine if we can have a vote to change the ordinance which prohibits “poultry”.  We prefer to call them “pets”.  We have many well-wishers and wonderful neighbors who requested that they be allowed to come to the meeting with us to voice their support.  We asked, but it seems that there will just be four in the room.  Jim is prepared with his statistics, moving presentation and generally cute and charming self to wow the board member and persuade him that urban chickens are DA BOMB!  (OK, Jim would never say “da bomb”.)  He even wore a tie today, and if you know Jim, this is HUGE!  He has to take 1/2 day of leave to get back here for the meeting, but hey, we can start our weekend early–hopefully with a glass of champagne to celebrate our victory.  I got up early and cleaned the coop, raked the yard of all visible signs of chickens (poop) and I told the girls they have to be on their best behavior this afternoon when we bring the nice man down to meet them.

I'll be good.

We have invited him to see our set-up and we do hope he takes us up on our invite.  I’ll have grapes at the ready and the ladies will entertain him with their athletic jumping and hilarious chicken antics.  All we hope to gain from this meeting is the chance to put the ordinance to a vote.  We feel confident that if given an opportunity the assembly members will vote to change the rule and pave the way for more backyard chickens in our beautiful neighborhood.  There is a chance, (however small) that they will NOT change the rule, and we are prepared for that too.  We have a lovely home nearby where the girls can live a great chicken life and we can come visit from time to time.  As soon as the meeting is over and I have some news, I will relay it here.  Thanks again to everyone who has shown so much chicken love!  POWER TO THE POULTRY!

Honey Doos…Done

In Backyard chickens, chicken coop, Chicken husbandry, urban chickens on January 18, 2012 at 12:01 am

Jan 18th

I’ve been pestering Jim to do two chicken-related projects for a few months.  My pal Lynnessa whom you met in Chickmommy’s 30th Class Reunion, Oct. 2nd, gave me a gift when I was in Mississippi for my reunion.  It’s a Red Man advertising sign.  Since 1904 Red Man has advertised on barns all across the country.  I don’t know if they still do but I’m always happy to see one.  Several friends have suggested that we paint SEE ROCK CITY or Red Man on our little red barn coop.  I don’t know Rock City from Shinola, but I am quite familiar with Red Man chewing tobacco.  My Papa chewed it and he could spit twelve feet and hit any target (perhaps my memory is flawed, I was just a kid when I witnessed this feat).  After hounding him for years to let me try some, he finally relented and let me reach into the pouch for a “chaw”.  I can tell you that was the last tobbacky this kid ever chewed!  Anyway, seeing Red Man on my coop makes me think of the old fella, long gone these 28 years.  I miss him, and I know he’d be pleased that Debbie became a chicken farmer.  (OK, he’d think I’m a little wacky, but my whole family does.)  Jim painted a red border on the shade/wind/rain screen and I think it’s just beautiful.

The other project is small and normally one I don’t need a “man” for; but Jim wouldn’t let me drill a hole in the hardiboard because he thought I’d mess it up.  It only took me a month to get him to do it!  My friend Susna (misspelling on purpose–long story) gave me this cute sign for my birthday.  It matches my house and I think it looks great.

And they're free!

Yes, those are my tacky fake flowers still left over from Christmas.  Well, they look better than a pot full of dirt!

Martha Stewart would NOT approve!

I’ve been fixing up my back yard as best I can for the dead of winter.  I planted a little garden of greens for chicken and human consumption.  I want the place to look spiffy for the board when they visit the ladies on Friday. They’ve been invited to the B’game farm to see our chicken operation.  I plan to have grapes at the ready and the girls have been practicing their jumps!  I have requested that they not poop in the high traffic areas of the yard as well, but they probably will not comply.  A chicken’s gotta do what a chicken’s gotta doo…doo.

Miss Kitty Comes A’callin’

In Backyard chickens, changing urban chicken laws, Chicken husbandry, eggs, urban chickens on January 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Jan. 16th

My neighbor and friend knew where to come when she realized she didn’t have enough eggs for her potato salad!

Miss Kitty admires the girls work.

 
I would have given her a half-dozen, but Jim has plans for a cheese souffle tomorrow, so we were stingy and could only spare two.  It seems that Kitty had never officially met the girls, although she has followed them for many months in the chickendiary.  We rectified the situation immediately.
 

Miss Kitty shows expert technique in grape feeding.

 
Our friend is an avid motorcyclist as is her husband, Morgan.  This Yamahama Mamma was open to a chicken-holding ritual we subject all new visitors to. 
 

Miss Kitty apologizes to Miss Daisy for the things she did to chickens as a zoology major.

 
She seemed like she’d been huggin’ poultry her whole life.  
 

Daisy forgives but hopes her new friend has changed her ways!

 
On another topic…I’ve gotten many phone calls, emails and visits from folks who would like to help out in our quest to change the chicken ordinance.  Several have asked if they can attend our Friday morning meeting with the board to offer support for our cause.  I plan to ask our property manager if this would be allowed.  If she says yes, it would be great to have some friends in the room to convince the board members that properly tended back yard chickens are an asset to our beautiful neighborhood.  I’ll keep you posted and if neighbors are allowed at the meeting I’ll contact those who have requested to be present.  You’ll be the first to know Miss Kitty.
 
 
 
 

Reprieve!…For Now

In Backyard chickens, changing urban chicken laws, Chicken husbandry, urban chickens on January 13, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Jan. 13th

Our neighborhood property manager is arranging a meeting between us and the board next week.  We’ll have a chance to tell our side of the situation and hopefully persuade them that the girls are no menace to society.  Jim will do most of the talking and there is a reason for that.  A friend of ours recommended that Jim give me  a sedative before the showdown.  He was only half-joking.  I do tend to get over emotional and run off a the mouth at times.  Again, many of you are NOT shocked.  We are thrilled that the 15 day execution has been postponed, and for now the girls are safe while we negotiate their freedom.  This is all we ever asked for. 

Daisy gets her "Dukes" up

Meanwhile, the chickendiary has gone “viral”.  Yesterday’s post generated so many views we broke the previous record for busiest day.  This is so encouraging.  I got supportive messages from all over the United States and from folks I have not previously heard from.  Thank you too, to all my friends and neighbors here in our neighborhood who have encouraged us to fight to keep our beloved pets.  We are not out of the woods yet, but this is a great beginning.  Viva la Chickens!

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