Lesson 506 – The peril of chicken toes

Last week, the public school kids were on vacation, this week, both of the college kids are home for Spring break. It’s really too bad it worked out this way, the kids have always seen flock members returning as a cause for celebration and would have loved to have spent the entire time together. (Although to be honest, the college kids seem to be more interested in sleeping than in socializing, so I’m thinking they just might be very glad the stars aligned themselves in this manner.)

Although Spencer, who goes to school the next town over, had been home to visit since Christmas (Hey mom, do you know where my blue blazer is?) and had met Charlie – Griffin had only heard tales of a mythical chicken living in our TV room (mom did what? No way.)

He got to meet Charlie on Saturday after a “looooooooong” train ride from RIT to Massachusetts where he was picked up and then had to endure a “looooooong” car ride home. Although exhausted (those looooong train rides can really take it out of you, especially when you have nothing to do but watch all 3 movies of the Lord of the Rings) he managed to get some quality time in with Charlie.

Charlie has grown (as all good chickens do) and now lives in what was once a wire rabbit cage. We found that she had outgrown the tupperware tub and because of water and condensation accumulation needed something that provided a little more air circulation. Enter Vivian’s old starter cage. When I say that Charlie lives in the cage, though, I’m speaking relatively of course, the rule is that if someone is in the TV room, then Charlie has to be out of the cage, free to roam around, which essentially means that Charlie is only in the cage at night. We leave feed for her on the floor and clean up the messes (and there are quite a few, Charlie is definitely not house broken) as soon as they happen. When she’s not eating or drinking, Charlie is sitting on our shoulders, peeping in our ears trying to figure out who did the crime before the TV detectives do.

This is Charlie having her breakfast in a mini-frisbee saucer.

When we moved her to her new cage we installed a sturdy roosting bar (a nice thick tree branch) so that she had somewhere to roost at night, and could exercise those beautiful toes of hers.

Black Copper Marans have hairy – hobbit-like toes (having just come off of his LOTR marathon, Griffin especially likes that trait.) They have black feathers on the outside toe going up their leg. Charlie’s foot surgery has not interfered with her toe feathering as you can plainly see. I’m sure that hobbits everywhere are rejoicing at their kindred spirit in toes.

When one falls asleep at college, the most one has to be worried about is someone drawing a mustache on you in permanent ink or dipping your hand in warm water. Not so the case at our house.

If you fall asleep at our house on the couch while watching TV (after a loooong train ride) be prepared for a little chicken to peck at your exposed toes throughout the night. Whether Charlie was simply exploring strange, naked, unfeathered toes or she was letting Griffin know by her constant pecking that she had seniority over him (the proverbial David and Goliath), we’ll never know.

What Griffin did discover is the time honored chicken-owning lesson that if you want to sleep undisturbed when there is a chicken living in the room, you’d best keep your feet underneath the blankets at all times.



Filed under Backyard Chickens, Charlie, chicken care, The kids

7 responses to “Lesson 506 – The peril of chicken toes

  1. Awesome post. You just keep on getting better and better. And this is one cute chicken for sure.

  2. A couple of new chicks coming home to our place tomorrow. Sex links, first deviation from Dominiques in our flock.

    • Wendy Thomas

      Ahh, congratulations! Are they going to have to be kept indoors or do you have a heat area outside in which to keep them?

      Come one dish – how many are you getting and how old are they?

      Sex-linked are fine, docile birds, not the most intelligent I’ve seen but certainly charming (and productive)


  3. I think we will be getting two chicks. Our house has two floors. Our bedroom is downstairs. Half the upstairs is my wife’s studio, weaving/sewing area, chick-rearing area; the other half is my computer area; in the middle is a treadmill and exercise area. The chicks live upstairs for a while and then we corner off a section of the run where the big hens and little girls can look at each other and chat until it is safe to let them mingle. Up to now all our hens have been Dominiques; this is my wife’s first careful venture into chicken diversity.

  4. Sex-linked are fine, docile birds, not the most intelligent I’ve seen but certainly charming (and productive)

    The new chicks are now home, in their upstairs creche. In our first discussion about naming, we considered “dumb” and “dumber,” but after they got home, my wife said, “They already know how to drink and eat” [which new baby chicks sometimes have difficulty with] so the newer suggestions were “sweet” and “sweeter.”

    I will try and get out the camera and take pictures of them while they are still small, though, of course, you know what baby chicks look like, already.

    • Wendy Thomas

      Love the names Sweet and Sweeter! I assume that there is no limit requirement where you are (in NH if you get chicks from a feed store you have to get at least 12) or that you got them privately?

      Congratulations on your newest family additions.


  5. We had to get five as a minimum. We teamed up with our neighbors (who have chickens and ducks and got us started with chickens); they too three and we took two. The name question is still up in the air. As they are still mostly communicating by peeping, their suggestions are not too sophisticated.

    My wife comes up stairs about once an hour to talk to them. I went in to talk to them once. I said, “She is Glinda the Good Witch and will protect you. I am the evil troll; I eat little chickies.” They said, “Peep, peep.”

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