The Secret Chicken

stories of a secret chicken

Happy Day!

January30

Thursday, Turken started laying again. Today, I’ve got two green eggs along with the two brown. That means that the Aracaunas are laying as well, or at least one of them is. Buttercup is molting, finally, so no white eggs right now.

And it’s perfect timing, since I was intending to make breakfast for dinner tonight.

Waste not : Donation

July2

A slight departure from chickens today.

I hate wasting things. Unfortunately, it means that sometimes, but trying not to waste, I end up wasting even more. Don’t throw that away, it might be useful someday! And of course it never is, and what is more wasteful than having a possibly useful item sitting in a box in the garage? Yeah.

We all have neat things, things we see value in, but which have no real value in our lives. And we ask ourselves, “Why am I keeping this? It’s useless to me! But it’s so neat, and it still has uses…”, so we keep it. In a closet, in a box in the garage, hell, in extreme cases we keep them in storage units because it’s just too hard to get rid of it.

This is where donating comes in. It’s a way of letting these ever-so-useful items become useful again – to someone else.

goodwill

A lot of us shop at thrift stores, but we don’t consider that we could donate just as easily. We see things that we need, things we didn’t know we needed until we saw them…so why can’t we do that for someone else? Give them a chance to see our neat things, and let them see how much they need neat things.

Last week, I had a few things I wanted to donate. Not much, but a few things. Some clothes my daughter let me pry from her hands, mostly. I put them in a box in the living room, and told my roommate it was there, if he wanted to add to it. And miracle of miracles, he did! He added a jacket he’d had since the 80′s. Some shirts he’d had almost as long, things he’s had in his closet because they were too nice to throw away, but didn’t fit him anymore. They did have some sentimental value, they were from peak of his youth and all that. It was hard. But knowing that someone else can use them, that made it possible. It made it a good thing, not an angst-driven purging.

And what that means, is that somewhere out there…there is a person who will find that jacket. That jacket that looks like it was made from the upholstery of my grandmother’s couch…and think it’s neat.

And that is why we donate.

Update!

June2

I found out today that my hometown just passed an ordinance allowing 4 chickens (hens) within the city limits. What makes it more fun is that the mayor who signed it, he used to be my Social Studies teacher. His wife is now my brother’s teacher.

Bonus: Checking Facebook not an hour after I found this out, I see a post from someone who went to that same school with me, graduated in the same class, is now a teacher there. His post? ” I am the proud papa of 4 chickens now!”.

Fantastic.

Not that chickens are stupid…

April11

but they sure can fool me into thinking they are sometimes.

A week or so ago, I noticed that the glass egg I’d put in one of the nesting boxes had disapeared. My roommate laughed and told me to check the egg cartons…but I was more concerned that the chickens had knocked it into the coop, where I couldn’t really see it. But I thought, “They’ve been laying eggs in those nesting boxes since last summer – they’ll be fine.”

And they were, for a few days. Then I started getting fewer eggs – I thought, “It’s just because it’s early in the season yet. I’m sure it’s fine.”

And then yesterday I only got 3 eggs. Today, there were none.

So fine. I moved the run and grabbed a long-handled cultivator. and a flashlight.

Yes indeed, in a nice tidy little depression in the corner, there was a pile of white and brown eggs. At least my Araucana’s had sense to keep laying in the boxes.

I was going to leave it at that, it’s been on the edge of rain all day and I didn’t like the idea of messing with it all right then. I pulled out the eggs, grabbed the glass egg that had, indeed, fallen in to the coop. I cleaned out the nesting boxes, put in the glass egg plus a couple light colored plastic eggs from Easter. But then my chickens all looked at me, sort of accusingly. So I ended up mucking out the whole coop.

I’ve been using a form of Deep Litter Method in my coop, mostly because of the ease-of-use, with the homemade coop only having two openings – one up high for nesting box access, and one chicken-sized one at the base.  Using DLM, I can eliminate cleanings for most of the year.

It does mean that when I do a cleaning, it’s heavy duty.  It was about a foot deep when I did it today, but as advertised, no odor.  Pleasant surprise!  I used the cultivator and a hoe to pull all the litter out, which the chickens thought was awesome.  They immediately started digging through it, looking for treats.  After it was 90% cleaned out, I dumped in a bag of ABM and a crate of very dry straw.  Now it’s good for another 6 months, or more, depending on how much they use it in between.  They aren’t in the coop a lot, they have a large yard to roam over, so I may be able to wait until this time next year to clean it out again.  Not bad at all.

The litter that was removed is in a pile right now, since the part of the yard it will go to is just next to the coop, I’m counting on the chickens to do most of the spreading.  Whatever they don’t get by the end of day tomorrow, I’ll grab the cultivator and spread it around some.

I did find myself wishing that I could put them in the front yard, just for a few days.  They’ve completely torn up the moss in the back yard, which is something our landlord has been trying to do in the front.  He’s used moss-out kind of products up there, but I don’t see much of a change.  It’s just too shady.

Anyway, wish me luck on the ladies using their proper nesting boxes.  If they don’t, I’m gonna end up with back problems from pulling eggs out of the bottom of the coop.

Christmas is Coming

December21

The goose is getting fat…
And it’s a good time to say Happy and Merry! to everyone who cares, and who we care about. So, I present the Christmas Kittens!
christmas_kittens
Hmm, Spike and Nox don’t seem thrilled by the hats, do they? Wonder if they’d be happier if I got them matching mittens…

First night with the new ladies

July8

We live in town. In front of our house is a nice, quiet neighborhood and a park, but in the back, it’s a busy 4-lane road. There is a fence there, it’s probably 7ft high. It’s a nice fence, the landlord put it in shortly before we moved in. On the other side of the fence, some overgrown apple trees and a shitload of blackberry bushes.

Yesterday was our first day with the new girls. They did pretty well all day, and a little before 9pm (regular bedtime for the outside animals) I went out to check them out. The ladies were working their way towards their enclosure, and I noticed that the Sussex was on top of the enclosure.

Now, this enclosure is made of fence on one side and dog exercise panel on the outside, topped with bird netting. My chickens have never shown interest in going up there, because the wire is too narrow to be stable, and the bird netting is floppy.

But there she was. I walked over and took her down, then started looking for the Barred Rock. Nowhere to be seen. I looked all over – in front of the house, in the garden, nope.

So, given the location of her friend, I assumed she was over the fence. We looked, but a speckled chicken in the bushes in the dark…

This morning, I got up and took Oddball outside, let the bunny out, let the ladies out, and stood on the chair to see if I could see the chicken in the brush. Nope.

A couple hours later, I noticed Minki kitty paying inordinate attention to a particular section of fence. On a hunch, I grabbed the chair again and looked over…and there she was. Stupid chicken.

The next hour was spent scrambling through the brier patch trying to snag the damn chicken and put her in a cat carrier. Understand – to get to the other side of that fence, it’s a 2-block walk. There is no gate. So with my roommate on the inside with a rake, and myself on the outside with the carrier, we finally gave up. Roommate finally came around and we just cornered her behind the apple tree. Very traumatic.

I had some enforced bonding time with the new ladies.
As soon as we got back to the yard, the new ladies got their summer haircuts.

Our Hero, Minki

Our Hero, Minki

Long day.

June16

It was a long day. Crappy day. Thank goodness for cherry-limeaides spiked with smirnoff. and chickens who love me. and a friend who says, my husband has to work late, lets go to dinner. and Toshi’s ramen. and butterscotch pudding ice cream.
Henery

and Henery, who loves me.

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