Thursday, June 30, 2011

4th of July

This is what I spend the 4th of July doing, staring up into the sky at these beautiful creations! I'm usually playing bagpipes in a parade too.  For my lack of practicing lately, I'm skipping the parades.  I would most likely pass out along the route somewhere and I have already learned what happens when I piper goes down on concrete.....and it's not pretty.

Happy 4th everyone!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Inevitable Egg

For a week we observed the white chicken, Colonel, as it became aggressive, a loner, a coop pacer, and an escapee.  I was beginning to think it was crazy, like me.  Being chased by a chicken, is honestly not something I ever thought I would experience in my life. Tall Man told me to remind it who the Big Bird is.  So, I tried to channel my inner Big Bird and let the white chicken know that I was boss.  Hasn't worked yet.

The said escapee bird has been guided back home on numerous occasions by our neighbors.  I apologize.  Each time they bring it back I think..."Why yes, thank you! So happy to have this bird back." Said in a self convincing voice. Honestly, the neighbors have been very nice to help us out.

However, the oddest behavior by far:  Why does this chicken knock on the front door?  This afternoon we were sitting in the front room and I heard a weird noise at the front door.  Looked over at Tall Man and said, "That's a weird sound. Probably the escapee chicken knocking at the door.  (insert hilarious, no way, type of laughter)"  After a minute my curiosity got the best of me and I opened the door.  Do you know how odd it is to open the door to find a chicken standing on your front porch?  It's slightly twilight zone-ish.  I look at it and think...."Yes, Do you have something to tell me?"  I'm seriously waiting for it to talk one day and tell me he can get me a better deal on my cable.

So, finally an egg shows up and she stops pacing the coop, running away, and chasing us.....that is until she's ready to lay another egg.  Seriously?  Is this going to happen every time this bird lays an egg? 
Help me!

The white one is the one from our chicken.  You can't tell, but it's about 1/2 the size of the brown one from the store.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Can you stand one more chicken post?

I'm more.  I promise, well, no I don't promise that it will be the last because this is honestly one of the weirdest things I have done....stick chickens in my back yard.  All for the lure of organic, free range eggs.

Things I have learned.....

1.  If you don't put the ladder down on the coop so they can go up to roost at night before it's dark....well, chickens are blind.  They will find the highest place possible to roost and that includes the top of our coop. Found them this way a couple of times before I clued in to get the ladder down. I don't like touching them! And I hate chicken feet!!  So what happens? I grab a chicken and it wraps its feet around my finger.  I proceeded to run around the yard screaming, well, like a chicken.

2. Chickens are basically stupid.  Case in point...the white one just flew into the glass door.

3. Chickens know how to knock, or scratch.  After listening to an odd scratching at the front door, and the cat beginning to pace inside, Zoo boy opened the door to find the white chicken, who was apparently letting us know that she was in the wrong part of the yard and needed help getting back.  I know this may appear to contradict number two, but I still think they're stupid.

4. I think we have an OCD chicken. The white one.  She is WEIRD!! Since getting rid of the rooster our little flock of chickens seem confused and weirded out; displaying bizarre behavior, like constantly trying to escape.  Either that, or they have decided they don't like us and want a new home.

5.  They love sprouted wheat and I feel good about feeding it to them.  Makes me feel like a good urban farmer.  Good advice from my sister-in-law.

6.  I'm starting to panic about our portable coop.  What is my yard going to look like in the winter when it's covered with snow, and chicken poop? I don't want to know, I don't want to know.  Denial works for me.

7.  Chickens are very clicky and critical of newcomers.  They still don't like the new chicken and it's been two weeks.  I would so totally be looking for new friends if I were her.  Notice, she wasn't welcome on the top of the roost.  Such rude girls.

Wish they would lay some eggs.  I guess fact number 7, egg laying maturity seems to take FORRR-EVERRRRR!

Thursday, June 9, 2011 NOT a Rooster!

However, I have discovered something about the fowl world.  Pecking order is a very real thing and so far we are failing miserably at introducing this little lady to the flock of three ninja's we have left.  Holy cow they are mean! I guess that should actually be "Holy Chicken they are mean!"  It stirs up all sorts of teenage angst in me as I watch them reject our new little chicken.  She just wants to be friends? Come on ladies!!  How could you be so cruel? Bullying is just not tolerated and can lead to all sorts of behavior issues.  I don't think I can even call them ladies anymore.  More like MMA chickens ready to bully anyone out of the ring, or coop in our case.  New chicken, or as the kids named her Henrietta, (Seriously??)  spends most of her day alone, and I feel sad for her.  I am a horrible urban farmer.  Human emotions and poultry shouldn't mix!

Hopefully Henrietta doesn't decide to go after the MMA girls with Pumped Up Kicks! (Side note plug...if you haven't checked out the band Foster the People, do it.  Love them!)  Actually, I would like her to just go after them, just once or even twice.  Come on girlfriend....GET YOUR GAME ON!!

Rooster boy is gone and happy.  He spent a large portion of the day traveling with Tall Man in this box to his final destination.  Honestly, I don't know which is worse; bullied chicken, or rooster boy in my yard??  Someone remind me why I did this?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Houston...We have a ROOSTER!

In keeping with the urban farming theme I have had going on this blog, my post today is a lesson in what a rooster looks like. a rooster.

The debate has been going on in the family for the past two months.  Tall Man is waiting for it to jump on the fence post and start crowing before he believes it's a rooster.  I'm not waiting for that morning wake up alarm.  Here's why...
1.  He's about twice as big as the other birds.
2.  He's mean to the other birds.
3.  He chest bumps and chases the other birds around the yard.
4.  He chases the cat.
5.  He has long lovely tail feathers, which are there for a impress the ladies.
6.  He's mean.
7.  His neck feathers fan out in the most funky way, that I honestly feel like I am watching Jurassic Park. You know the part in the movie where the nice cute little dinosaur suddenly spreads this web of frill like thing around and behind it's head and then proceeds to eat the guy.  I don't want to be eaten.
8.  He's mean.
9.  He's got spurs the jingle jangle jingle.
10.  He's mean.

I am way done with this chicken.  Oh, and for the record, it was named "petite oiseau", french for little bird.  I guess he had bigger ideas about his pure potential than the name I gave him.  

Goodbye Petite Oiseau.  Good luck on the farm!  I hear there are over 100 lucky ladies waiting for you!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Portable Chicken Coop

It was very fun to build this chicken coop.  So fun we tried to sell this one so we could build another one!  We love this coop!  Tall man did a great job finishing it with very wonderful and easy to follow directions that we purchased online.  Best part is that we move it around our yard and the chickens are kind enough to fertilize and eat ants in that area.  We hose down the lawn with a little water each time we move it, and presto....instant fertilizer.  It did take the chickens about a week to figure out how to use the ramp to the roost area. 

Much of the afternoon they spend free ranging in our yard. Very fun to watch the gang of chickens wander the yard, but I don't think the cat enjoys it much. I think my favorite part is herding them in at night.  I feel like a pied piper of chickens.  Wonder what they would think if I came out with my bagpipes next time I put them in at night?  Might have to video that one.

Finished with nice pine shavings

FInished but without chickens inside

Doors on the sides with chickens inside

Saturday, March 12, 2011

We have chickens????

We have chickens.  One night I was visiting with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and next thing I know....I  have chickens.  When opportunity knocks, you run with it.  Being the spur of the moment kind of people; who honestly do better when we don't think things thru, we ordered chickens with my sister-in-law.  I wanted 2 brown egg laying chickens and two green egg laying chickens.  I'm not sure why, but I have always loved green eggs.  They are so beautiful.  Mother natures' Easter eggs.

February 14th rolls around and we get the news..."chickens are here".  Now what?  Um....what are we doing??  Moment of realization we don't have a clue what we are doing.  Thankfully, we know people who do.  Learn as you go, I say.  There's nothing more motivating in learning than the NEED to know.  So, we now have four lovely chickens who are growing from one box to the next and living in my house.   Yes, I have chickens living in my house.  I'm sorry, but I really think this is weird!  I remember when my dad would pick up fertilizer for the garden and it stunk.  And that fertilizer came from the back end of a chicken.  I have invited that into my home.  Someone check and see if I have a pulse.

Four people in the house, four chickens in the house.  So, we all named one.  One brown one is named Kip (chicken in dutch).  The other brown one is Pollo (chicken in spanish).  The black one is Petit Oiseau (little bird in french) and the white one is Colonel (No translation necessary unless you've never eaten at KFC).  We have some very creative people in our house. 

Funniest moment so far....
My daughter, after hearing the chickens cheeping like crazy, went quickly in to check on them.  It became obvious what their terror was all about.  She found our 18 pound cat sitting by the box, peering over the edge.  I would be scared.  That cat is a beast with VERY long teeth.  That had to have been a King Kong movie moment for chickens.

I have one complaint, other than the smell......chicken feet.  They honestly, totally creep me out.  I don't know why.  But when I go in to check on them, I have to consciously tell myself, 'Don't look at their feet!  DON'T LOOK AT THEIR FEET!'  And then, I do because ......I don't know why I do!  But my stomach rolls I get nauseated and have to leave. It's like being told as a kid not to look into the sun because it will burn your eyes and so you do, because burning eyes sounds irrational.  Creeped out by chicken feet sounds irrational.  Call me irrational.