Know Your Chicken

After the latest round of temperatures in the negatives, a sunny 25 at lunch time today felt downright balmy. I took the opportunity to waddle myself out to the coop, armed with my pitchfork, and clean up a bit. The shavings needed turning and refreshing, the nesting boxes needed some sprucing, and the girls needed some fresh hay.

It appears they are just as stir crazy as I am. When they bum rushed me as I opened the door, I decided to let them explore the snowy yard for a bit while I worked.

Most of them were pretty okay with the snow. Then there was Dino Puppy. She flew about 10 yards and then, come hell or cracked corn, would not budge. She just hunkered down in the snow like she was in a cozy, quiet nesting box. I think she was actually completely freaked out. I finally had to pick her up and carry her back to the run.

All of this brings us back to the subject of this post and the following video. I know my chicken. You’ve got to know your chicken!

P.S. How have I never posted this amazing song here?

Finally! Someone Got the Memo

On November 20, Dino Puppy laid her (and our) first egg.

It looks like Boo got the memo, because before 8:00 this morning, there were TWO beautiful little eggs, side by side in the far nesting box, one green and the other a telltale white egg that could have only come from our only leghorn.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this latest installment in the backyard chicken telenovela drama we’ve got going on!

Boo's first egg! (and Dino Puppy's fifth). Huevos rancheros for dinner!

P.S. I’m also starting to worry that our neighbors are going to call the cops on us. Boo and Dino Puppy in particular are LOUD, LOUD creatures all of a sudden! Dino Puppy got her name, in part, due to her loud dinosaur-esque squawk, but dios mio, it has only gotten worse. I swear, they are not roosters, and they are still quieter than your barking dogs, neighbors!

Geek-Out-Worthy: Composters and Chicken Combovers

Geek-Out-Worthy Thing the First: Have I mentioned lately how awesome it is to have someone around who not only has a ton of construction-type tools, but who also has the interest and know-how to use them? Yesterday, Chris leveled the composter that he built with his own two hands, and today he whipped up a new dust bathing box for the chickens.

20121125. Our new composter!

Since I am good at encouragement and manual labor, my job was to lend encouragement, rake/cut up sticks/consolidate compost piles, and rake out/freshen up the chicken coop and run.

20121125. Our new composter!Some composter plans and details, straight from the boyfriend himself:

Geek-Out-Worthy Thing the Second: HAVING CHICKENS WHO ARE ACTUALLY LAYING EGGS/ARE ABOUT TO GET STARTED! Dino Puppy has given us four eggs since 11/20. Boo is now expressing an interest in the nesting box, and her comb has grown exponentially over the last 1.5 months (not to mention in the last week alone!).

Compare: November 18.

20121118. Quality time with the chickens - Boo and her suddenly impressive comb.

November 25. Maybe not as impressive from the side…

20121125. Boo's impressive comb.

But look at that comb! It has officially become a combover and is flopping and wobbling all over the dang place. Go, Boo, go!

20121125. Boo's impressive comb.

On Boo’s Impressive Comb

The other day as I was feeding and watering and generally fawning over the chickens, I was nearly overcome by the impressiveness greeting me from the general vicinity of one delicate, flighty little bird named Boo (aka Flighty Whitey).

Okay, not really. But I was struck by how quickly her comb went from mildly impressive to a floppy, droopy, flapping in the breeze red flag of chicken-ness. Chicken epitome.

Observe: Exhibit A. October 4.

20121004. I leave for a week, and all the chickens look different to me.

Exhibit B. November 3.

20121103. Boo.

Exhibit C. November 18.

20121118. Quality time with the chickens - Boo and her suddenly impressive comb.Think maybe one of these (loveable, hilarious, heartwarming) jerks will someday lay us an egg? Because that would be so super cool.

Bonus pic of the day: Dino Puppy (aka Yoshi, aka Yoshi Takashite, aka The Gray One) has also gotten lovey again. She lets me give her chicken massages again – I think because she knows we have been discussing what we will do in the spring if these jerks don’t start laying soon. She’s buttering me up so I don’t make chicken soup out of her. No, for real.

20121118. Quality time with the chickens - Dino Puppy.