Monday, April 30, 2012

can't think of a title

Well, today was the day.  The chicks are now living outside permanently.  They've only been out in their new digs for about 2 hours and I miss them already.  I loved to peek into the downstairs bathroom and see them a gazillion times a day. 

I miss Chirpy flying up and perching on my back as soon as I reached in to pluck poo and wood chips out of their food.  I miss hearing them peep madly as they sorted out the sleeping arrangements each night.  They had their own mini chicken circus going on.  Each night the final solution was to shove the feeder off its wooden pedestal and sleep on the pedestal with Redder in prime position and Chirpy snuggled up with her head on top of Redder. 

Eric will have to share the story of their trip outside.  I just can't do it.  Instead, I'll leave you with a few early morning photos from the last week or so.  They're not terribly flattering of me, but the chicks look great and that's all that matters. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

out and about

It has been an exciting few days for the chicks.  They've had their first tastes of dirt, grass and bugs, heard their first dog bark and have found sidewalk cracks to be endlessly fascinating.  They were not terribly brave on their first trip outside and spent a lot of time on Eric's shoulders.  The second and third trips were more successful.  They were super excited to explore the sidewalk, grass and plants near the deck.  Soon they'll be spending full days and nights outdoors.  They may be ready but I'm not!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

5 weeks old!

They have lost most of their chick fluff and are in that awkward pre-teen stage now.  Redder's feet are HUGE compared to her body, her neck is super long, and she looks like a buzzard.  They are not quite fully feathered, but their wings are nicely developed and they easily fly up to the top of their box and onto our hands and shoulders.  Chirpy is especially eager to escape the box and her crazy sister who likes to torment her periodically.

Although friends and family have been too kind to mention it, I think our house is starting to smell a bit like a barn.  We swap out their box and pine shavings every week, but there's still a faint fowl odor in the air.  Oh well, it's a small price to pay for having these funny girls around AND it's a good reminder that they'll need to move outside soon.  Otherwise I'd be happy to let them live in our spare bathroom much longer!! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

another busy day for chickens

Ronan, John, Nicholas, Chirpy & Redder
My niece Deirdre brought her 3 energetic and inquisitive sons to visit this past week.  We had a nice indoor picnic, talked about trains and Legos, then brought the chicks out for a little while.  The chicks were not quite sure what to think of the crowd gathered in their honor and seemed a bit overwhelmed.   They eventually crawled up my arms, onto my shoulder and down my back.  It really tickles!!

chicks - the new fashion accessory for spring!
We also headed outside to share wilted arugula with the big girls.  Ronan and John found 2 eggs then practiced using the egg scale to weigh them.

Ronan & John checking for eggs
success!  thank you Ray and Stella
Despite the fact that Nicholas bonked his head on a drawer that I had left pulled out, I think everyone had a good time.  Yikes!  That's 2 slightly wounded children in the past 2 visits.  That doesn't reflect our typical injury rate for visitors.  Honestly!!

Once Deirdre and the boys left, the chicks conked out for quite a while!  I let them rest before inviting a group of neighbors in for a peek.  5 kids and 2 adults came by to see indoor and outdoor chicken action.  There were LOTS of squeals and giggles!!

I really enjoy the chicken-inspired visits and being able to share chicken happiness with family, friends and neighbors.  I am grateful to the girls for drawing people into our home and into our lives.

Ronan & John saying goodbye to Redder

Sunday, April 1, 2012

a different sort of Saturday

My dear friend Susan invited me to speak to a group of women about how chickens came into my life and the many benefits of having hens.  The women had just finished reading the wonderful books The Chicken Chronicles by Alice Walker and Sheepish by Catherine Friend.  Catherine Friend was invited to speak the previous week.  She's a tough act to follow!!

I was nervous and excited to talk to the group.  I think I rambled on a bit at times (who??  ME??!!) but I was thrilled at the opportunity to share my love of chickens and the amazing and unexpected ways they have touched our lives and influenced our relationship with food, family and community. 

As soon as I got home I needed some chicken time.  When I took Chirpy out, Redder flew to the edge of the box (a new trick she's learned in the past week) and perched there, waiting patiently for me to take her too.  She hopped onto my hand and off we went into the dining room where they spent time pecking at meal worms and running relays across my arms, shoulders and back.  It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon.