I have been sitting on this one for many months. It happened during our Border-to-border walk this summer and I knew I had to put it on the backburner until we finished, otherwise I would lose it.
Some chickens mean more than others.
And then it was too painful to retrieve it so I just let it sit and sit unattended. But it’s time to confront this head on.
My beautiful, beautiful Black Copper Maran, Charlie died. She had been ill for a while. Something was affecting her nervous system and she had difficulty walking. She’d list to one side, fall down, and then we’d have to pick her up and set her on her feet again. One day she’d be okay, the next day she’d have her “drunk dance” back.
As she continued with her declining health, we tried a few things. I gave her physical therapy (a towel sling while she worked her legs.) We made sure that she always had food and water nearby so that she wouldn’t have to go far. I picked her up at the end of the day to place her in the safety of the coop each night.
One night, when I was away on a walk, she finally laid down and died. Continue reading
Josephine, our Blue Copper Maran and her mate Mrs. (Mr.) Bucket our Black Copper Maran both love to chase any flying bugs. They’ll see one buzz by and will, with their matching awkward and lumbering gait, chase after them – sometimes successful, sometimes not.
But even if they don’t get the insect, they seem to enjoy the hunt.
That is until the day I watched them as a fly buzzed by in near reach. Both of my chicks stood still while they looked at the insect making its way across the yard. Finally Mrs. (Mr.) Bucket took off running after the fly and it was only after he had made his move that Josephine also decided to join in on the chase. Continue reading
Okay, you all know the joke about the chicken crossing the road, but here’s a new one.
Question: How high can a chicken jump? Continue reading
During the heat wave, when it was brutal outdoors, every time I opened the door, there was Charlie waiting to scurry around my leg in order to come into the house. She knew that inside she’d find cool Pippin water, and if she pecked at the smaller pieces, she’d probably be able to eat a dog kibble or two. Continue reading
Last week I wrote about a custom glass bead I had ordered from Lauren Bramble of Crowbirdie Beads to depict Charlie our Black Copper Maran house chicken.
I had first heard about these beads from the Chickenistas facebook page. Lauren had posted a picture of a bead she had just completed for a client and one of the comments under the photo said that it was so wonderful she had caught the chicken’s personality in the bead even to the point of depicting the chicken’s comb that always flops over.
Well, I thought to myself, if Lauren could depict chicken’s personality in glass, then I should ask her about doing one of our personable chicken – Charlie. I contacted Lauren to get the proverbial all rolling.
For a custom order Lauren wants to hear a little bit about the personality and unique traits of your chicken (for the record she also does other animals.) I told her about Charlie and her feet, and I described her as best I could. Continue reading
Sorry for the delay today, I usually get my posts up before 10 but today I’m a bit behind. The heat wave has finally broken and I think that my body, after days and days of oppressive temperatures and humidity, has started its own little protest.
A little extra sleep and lots of water are on the schedule for today.
Last night, I wimped out.
The plan was to introduce our two young marans (Josephine and Mrs. (Mr.) Bucket) into the flock under supervision while they were all free ranging in the yard and then if that went well (which it did) put them in the coop with the rest of the flock for the first time last night.
For days now, the entire flock has been free ranging in our backyard with hardly a peep toward the addition of our two juvies. Oh, sure, there would be an occasional tweak every now and then but everyone seemed to be getting along. Our two juvies ran around together and the older birds made sure that the youngsters didn’t overstep any boundaries.
Last night was supposed to be the big night. I was going to move the juvies into the coop and then move our indoor babies out to “juvie pen” (which would have meant no more chicks in the house, always a blessed event in a chicken owner’s life.) We were all very excited about this move (especially Spencer who has his computer set up near the indoor baby chick pen.)
As the sun started to set, the kids helped me collect all the chickens and get them into the coop, including our two marans.
Who immediately squished themselves into the corner where the dreaded cinder blocks had been (Marc had removed them long ago) and started calling out to me for help. The older birds in the flock knew an opportunity when they saw one and kept pecking the trapped youngsters from behind.
Peck. Squawk. Moooooooooooom! Continue reading
I haven’t written about Charlie lately (although that was her photo in the heat the other day.)
I can’t tell you how much I love this chicken. This bird who after living in our house for 6 months has the temperament of a teen, the allegiance of a flock member, and the life enthusiasm of a puppy – all from the early imprint models she was exposed to in her youth.
When I let the flock out from the coop she always runs up to me and lets me stroke her chest (a downward motion with a flat palm never on her head.) Always.
Yesterday, after she had greeted me, she and a pal went off to the side of the yard to peck and scratch near our compost pile. Apparently something was in the wooded area that spooked them causing both girls to squawk and fly away from the perceived danger. Not only did Charlie escape the danger but when she heard me call out her name in alarm, she came running, limbs akimbo, half flying – half jumping. She wanted me – the big mama hen who would literally soothe her ruffled feathers and tell her that all would be well. That she was, once again, safe. Continue reading
This is a post not so much about chickens, as much as it is about a mama hen who’s feathers are ruffled.
Because as we all know, “if the mama hen ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
And this mama hen is not happy.
It has been a hot summer so far, a very hot, and unbearably humid summer. Made even more uncomfortable by the fact that the air conditioner in our third-floor-two-skylights-hot-as-an-easy-bake-oven bedroom has decided after many years of faithful service to finally give up the ghost and die.
Easy problem to fix, right? Just go out and buy a new one.
But when you have kids in college, sports, and continuing medical costs, trust me on this one, you can always find things to spend your money on instead of replacing a machine that cools you for only a few hours a night for only a few weeks a year. Continue reading
In the beginning, when each of my kids was born, Marc presented me with a tiny golden head inscribed with each new family member’s name. Those medals were a constant physical reminder, as clearly as any military dog tags ever could, of who I was and the role I now played in our growing family. I wore the necklace with pride night and day.
I stopped the heads at #3, however, because along the way, we had lost a baby and like many other young mothers, I didn’t know how to go forward. Did I add the baby girl’s name – Elizabeth to my necklace? Or did I just leave her off and recognize that she had been here but was now gone. I didn’t want to be constantly reminded of a loss, but I also didn’t want to be a traitor to her memory. Continue reading
The problem with adolescents is that they stink.
Although we still have the newest of our littles in a nursery off to the side of our living room (and they are still adorably cute), it’s time to move those pesky teens of ours outside. Although both of our chicks are fully feathered and could easily spend the night outdoors, I’m not going to take the chance that anything happens to them during the introduction to the flock and so, slow and steady it goes.
They will be outdoors but not in the coop.
For now, we have set up a fenced in area that the chicks will use during the day. At night, we’ll be safely housing them our old rabbit hutch (which has proved to be very useful to this chicken farmer.) They will slowly be introduced and no one is moving anywhere until I know that everyone will be safe.
Pippin saying hi.