Tag Archives: Chickens

Chickens are treacherous, and other amazing facts

I am furious with our chickens, especially the witchy one who just attacked me.

Now that our erstwhile rooster is fulfilling his highest and best destiny (my husband sacrificed and canned the beast the last weekend), the hens are on the march.

I have brought the chickens an apple core as a treat every day of their post-baby chick lives. They have always received it hungrily and fought over it, each ultimately securing a portion. They never complained when I collected whatever eggs they laid. Today was different.

I brought them their apple core and held up the hatch of their hutch to check for eggs. For the first time ever, not one egg was intact. They have sometimes broken an egg but left others intact. Today all the eggs–I could not quite tell whether there had been three or four–were smashed and consumed. Only the shell fragments remained.

As I held up the hatch, one hen leaped onto my arm–these creatures have impressive claws–in an attempt to escape the hutch. I pushed her back and closed and latched the hatch. Then I went in and scrubbed my arm with Bactine. Chickens are incredibly filthy creatures.

It’s actually a negligible casualty, and chickens are far too dull to formulate an intention. I will still bring the hens their apple core, for two more days. We have two apples left, and the storage apples we get in summer taste like paper mâché. There will be no more apples until Fall.

I doubt the chickens will learn any manners by then–though I suppose that’s fair, since I keep removing their eggs.

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Sexers of chickens are not always right

Mistakes in sexing chicks happen. We wanted four hens. They were little chicks when we got them in March. They all looked alike. The second from the left has a large comb, but that isn’t always dispositive. He crows. His cocka-doodle-do goes off at 5:00 a.m. and off and on throughout the day. Worse, he’ll never lay eggs. But he’ll make good chicken stew.

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Chicken chase

I don’t wish to impugn Creation, but. . .chickens are stupid. Incredibly stupid. But I knew that when we got our first brood, back in 2006.

As I headed up the hill toward our chicken house with the hens’ daily apple core, I noticed that one of the hens was running around loose and squawking hysterically. It was the second chicken escape in two years.

The drama queen of our three evidently somehow dug her way under the coop, which rests on delicious fresh alfalfa. She was running around, circling the chicken trailer (aka “the coop” or “the ark”), apparently desperate to return to her chums, even though I held the door open for her. Thankfully, her mates made no attempt to join her frenzy.

I tried leading the scurrying hen by walking slowly ahead of her, but she panicked and bolted in the opposite direction, toward the end of the coop that had no door.

I tried chasing her, but I felt more stupid than I had reckoned she was, as she warily switched directions at panicked-bird speed.

Finally, I stood holding the door open and she ran in, batting her wings. I secured the door and hoped a Spring re-run was not forthcoming.

Our chickens are in an enclosure for good reasons. Errant dogs, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and feral cats roam our field; and hawks, owls, and eagles hover and swoop down to seize prey. The hens’ enclosure has comfortable elevated roosts where they like to lay their eggs. We like the roosts too, because the eggs are accessible and fairly clean.

I collected the egg one of the girls had laid.  Walking back down the path to the house, I wondered whether the chicks housed in the small coop in my husband’s workshop will be as feisty as their two-year-old elders when they grow big enough to join them outdoors in the chicken ark. The sequel is just a few months off. . . .

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The chicks are growing up, Halvor turns to farming, and Effie remains the monarch of Effieland and the house

The little chicks are growing up, and in about four months they will become producers of eggs. Vic built them a larger hutch, and, thankfully, they no longer require heat lamps.

Halvor appears to have taken over the tractor, but I don’t think he has a key. . .

She who rules Effieland and its adjoining house

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The new girls on the hill

Our three Rhode Island Red hens are approaching four years old, and we don’t know when they will cease to lay eggs. Chicks are hatched, and we went to Primeland, the local farm store, and bought four Rhody chicks for $1 apiece. In about five months they’ll be laying beautiful large brown eggs. At an egg per hen most days, we’ll be well supplied–with eggs and chores.

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All things snow

A comforting snow–like a blanket–is falling and rapidly deepening.

p1020539The snow nurtures our dormant aspen.

p1020540The snow encourages camaraderie among our hens.

p1020542A quick stolen kiss on the porch!

p1020541“Where is everything?”
And, the snow revives Effie’s sense of awe and wonder.

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Effie, Protectress of Chickens: A High-Action Back-Yard Drama

It was a warm and windy day. Effie was restless, and I had to take her out in wind gusting above 31 mph.

Suddenly, she bolted up the garden fence and looked like she was going to slip her halter and escape!

escape attemptI caught her up in time, but she really wanted to leave the garden. We left through the gate and she surprised me by turning toward the field at an unusually brisk trot. I held on to her lead and jogged up with her. She stopped at the chicken trailer. Then I saw what she saw.

P1010633

P1010635 A dove had infiltrated the chickens’ coop; actually, they do this fairly often, but this time it particularly perturbed the hens. Effie glowered at the dove in a way that encouraged its departure.

vigil Our tabby heroine remained on vigil a minute or so; then, assured she had saved the helpless hens, she led our jog back down the hill and safely home. A good time was had by all, etc.

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