Lesson 1265 – Tiny miracles

Because I know this is something you’ve all wondered about – here is a photo of that abandoned House Finch egg compared to one of our standard chicken eggs. Pretty amazing, huh?

eggs

What I can’t for the life of me figure out is how a creature that small when born can ever survive. But they do. They sure do and then they follow that magic act by growing up and eventually flying off to live their own lives.

Next time you have those little negative thoughts of “I can’t do it” think of the guys who come out of these impossibly tiny eggs. They perform a miraculous feat on day one of their lives and then just keep on going from there.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1264 – Simplicity

After a few weeks’ of careful watching, I’ve figured out that our little House Finch Family has, as they say in the bird world, flown the coop. The parents and babies have moved on to greener trees.

We are getting ready for a graduation party around here (Go Logan) and so I decided that with the birds out of the nest, it was finally time to take down our Christmas wreath (and the sign warning people to BE QUIET!!!!) Continue reading

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Lesson 1263 – Putting a chicken down

Warning: this post is about putting a chicken down using a killing cone. I know that this is not something everyone wants to read about so I’m putting a break here.

Continue reading

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Lesson 1262 – Don’t forget

This weekend, the official start of summer, I found Zelda roosting in a rather unusual spot.

zelda bbq

Surely, with a bar-b-Que being planned for the family, she could have found a better place to roost (roast?)

But then that’s Zelda – a bird with a mind of her own.

Everyone is off from work. We’re going to spend the day at the shore (what little shore NH has) and then it’s off to eat our first lobster rolls of the season. It feels like a celebration.

Which is why I want to remind everyone to not forget that *this* is the true reason for Memorial Day.

arlington

My eternal thanks to the men and women who have given their lives to defend the United States of America.

Bless you all.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1261 – Update on Zelda (hen to rooster to hen)

Last fall, I wrote about Zelda, our alpha hen who had turned from being a hen, into being a rooster, and then back into a hen – all with different colorings (and yes we know it’s Zelda because of her metal leg identifier and her distinctive “bubble gum” comb.)

If you are around chicken owners for even a little bit of time eventually you will hear stories of hens “turning” into roosters. There are various reasons this can happen. If a flock is roosterless (as ours is) then the alpha hen can actually start to throw off more testosterone and will begin to display more male characteristics. Typically she’ll become more aggressive as she takes the role of protector and will stop laying eggs.

This can also happen if there is an injury of some kind to the reproductive organs, for example there can be a tumor that stops normal hormone production.

So you see, it’s not *that* uncommon for a hen to become a rooster. What is uncommon, however, is for that “rooster” to revert back to a hen and that’s what happened last fall.

Zelda turned from a golden speckled rooster into a white hen with a splash of her original grey on the bottom of her wing.

I contacted a vet who I use as an expert in some of my chicken articles to ask her about Zelda. She confirmed that hen to rooster had been seen, but that hen to rooster and then back to hen was not something that she had ever even heard about.

To be fair though, Zelda is about 7 years old. Most backyard chickens don’t make it to that ripe old age which might cut down on the chances of seeing this happen. The only way to truly find out what is going on would be to do an autopsy and, as Zelda is still alive and well, we’re going to hold off on that option.

In any event, we ended the conversation with the vet saying, she couldn’t wait to see what Zelda was going to do next.

Well, I have an update and here it is.

Zelda Spring 2015

Zelda Spring 2015

Zelda did nothing.

She remains a white female with her grey splash. It looks like Zelda’s grand transgender adventure is over and she is destined to live the rest of her days in our flock as a hen. (At least for now, anyway.)

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.


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Lesson 1260 – The lot of the tiny ones

One of our new chicks died this weekend.

We knew it was coming. By Saturday night, she was wobbly and had difficulty standing. She wasn’t eating or drinking.

We knew it was coming.

We also had a pretty good idea of what was wrong with her.

She was a runt.

When my son went to get our new chicks he chose her because she was “so darn adorable.” And she definitely was adorable – all tiny and cute as a button.

But as her sisters started growing, this little one couldn’t keep up. Her wings grew, but her body didn’t, making it look like she was constantly dragging a coat around that was much, much too large for her.

I fear my kids have picked up my “save them all” philosophy. My son chose the tiniest chick because he wanted to give her a chance. He knew that if he brought her home she would be taken care of, fed, watered, played with, and protected.

He knew that although small, she just might make it if she came home to live with us.

To be perfectly honest, I would have done the same thing. I *have* done the same thing. Over and over. We’ve been able to save a few over the years.

But it’s tough, because often these end up being the chicks that don’t make it.

If you want strong healthy chicks, you pick the large, active, bright-eyed, chirping ones that scurry away from your hand. If you want your chicks to live, you stay away from the smaller, quiet ones.

You save those for people like me, who are willing to give them a chance, even knowing it’s very likely that instead of living, these little ones will only end up taking away a tiny bit of your heart with their passing.

IMG_20150509_135721090

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1259 – Chickens and writing

Here is a piece I wrote for a writers’ blog. Just goes to show that chickens have a lot to teach us about many, many things – all lessons learned from the flock.

What Chickens Can Teach You About Writing

I write about the lessons I’ve learned from living with a flock of backyard chickens.

Oh sure, you can learn things like:

  • A freshly laid egg does not need to be refrigerated due to something called the bloom that protects the egg from air/water loss and bacteria.
  • The pecking order is a real and sometimes heart-breaking reality.
  • Unless you have a heart of stone, baby chicks will always make you say “awwwwwwwwww.”
There's a story in this photo.

There’s a story in this photo.

I’ve certainly learned a lot from my chickens, but it doesn’t end with their care and maintenance. I’ve learned some parenting lessons (pecking order is alive and well amongst teen girls) and I’ve learned a thing or two about best practices in writing from my backyard flock.

Chickens? Writing?

Okay, listen, I can hear you clucking all the way from my little writer’s desk. Chickens? Writing? Surely that one is a stretch for even those with the greatest imagination.

But hear me out.

Chickens have different points of view

Chickens constantly take different points of view. A chicken’s eyes are located on the sides of their heads (not facing forward like ours.) This means that when a chicken wants to see the world (or that lovely green bug traveling up a stem) she has to constantly adjust her head, by viewing the world from first one side, and then the other, she is creating depth in her vision field.

Learning to view from different perspectives is an invaluable skill for a writer.

Chickens work at scratching all day long

Chickens use their feet to constantly scratch at the dirt in order to unearth insects and yummy goodness. The resultant etchings are referred to by what many of our early school teachers called our handwriting – chicken scratch.

Chickens live to eat, when you are producing (an egg) on a daily basis, you need to really work at it. Just think if we put that much effort into our scratching – we just might be able to also produce an egg a day.

To be productive, you’ve got to work at it.

Chickens take breaks

In the warm afternoon sun, you’ll often find chickens taking what is called a dust bath followed by a quick nap in the sun.

The dust bath consists of throwing dirt over their bodies; believe it or not, it’s a way of cleaning out mites and insects from their feathers.

And the nap is simply a way to enjoy the sunny day.

A good writer knows how to take care of herself and when it’s time for a little break.

Cross that road

Finally, here’s a good writing lesson from our friends the chickens. You know that old joke:

“Why did the chicken cross the road?”

“To get to the other side.”

As a writer use that advice to get on with your work. Do whatever it takes (butt in chair, finding a room of your own, writing in a favorite notebook) for you to get to the other side of your project.

And when you reach that other side (publication or just satisfaction from your work) do yourself a favor and take one last bit of advice from my flock – be sure to crow loud enough about your accomplishment for all to hear.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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