November 18, 2013 § Leave a comment
Music Mondays! (I just made that up, I think this is the first time I’ve ever posted anything musical on a Monday). Either way, this song/video is someone’s current favorite.
Paul plays it to calm her down. (You can tell she was angry before, because when she gets upset she pulls her hair/grabs her ears. She still has one hand on her head gripping her hair, which means she’s still deciding whether or not she’s pissed.)
It is also a song that will be stuck in your head the rest of the day. You’re welcome.
September 27, 2013 § 2 Comments
As I was walking down Stanton Street early one Sunday morning, I saw a chicken a few yards ahead of me. I was walking faster than the chicken, so I gradually caught up. By the time we approached Eighteenth Avenue, I was close behind. The chicken turned south on Eighteenth. At the fourth house along, it turned in at the walk, hopped up the front steps, and rapped sharply on the metal door with it’s beak. After a moment, the door opened and the chicken went in.
September 16, 2013 § 3 Comments
It was a dark and stormy night. Literally.
With all the chaos with the new baby and people visiting, the past few weeks have caused us to kind of fall out of our normal routine. So when the severe weather sirens went off one night as we were on our way out the door to dinner at the inlaws, and I thought I heard Paul say “I’m going to go put the girls away now because of the weather”, like we normally would, I shouldn’t have assumed that’s what happened.
Long story short, we realized at 10pm that no one had actually put the chickens away. This isn’t the first time that’s happened. Early on I was always afraid that if we didn’t put the chickens on lockdown in the coop right at sundown one of the many critters that comes out at night would get in the pen and have a feast.
our super secure entrance to the chicken pen
But inevitably, there were a few times when for whatever reason we couldn’t get home before it got dark. And every time they’d put themselves to bed and were fine.
This time, though. Paul went out to put them away and came back in cursing. And I knew.
You see, while Romy and Michele would always put themselves away, Brunhilda liked to perch on top of the coop.
And when we’d come in to close everything up she’d jump down and run in the coop. Sometimes if it was really late before we could make it back there, she’d make her way into the coop on her own. But not always.
That night, apparently she decided to stay up and perch. And something got in the pen. And it got Brunhilda.
I’ll spare you the details, because they aren’t pretty, but there were feathers everywhere. Romy, per usual, had put herself away and was fine, hidden inside the coop. But poor B didn’t survive.
Even though I had kind of assumed when we got the chickens that this would eventually happen (I actually expected it to happen like the first week), we felt (or still feel) absolutely terrible.
So Paul and I headed out in the dark, in a torrential downpour with lightning flashing and thunder rumbling, to clean up the remains and put her to rest.
The next day we decided that with a newborn and Paul back at work, it probably wasn’t the best time to try to introduce a new chicken to the coop again (which, in retrospect, I realize I didn’t even cover completely the first time we tried to replace Michele with a new chicken. Probably because it was traumatic on so many levels. But trust me, it involves a lot of quarantining and violent pecking and can be an ordeal.)
And so, after a year and a half of quality time and quality eggs, Paul drove out to the farm the next day and dropped Romy off with her old flock.
He said that dropping her off was like dropping a child for her first day at preschool.
That afternoon Paul and my dad disassembled the magical hidden chicken farm.
And so ends an era. Even though it was the right decision for us, it still feels like there is a chicken-shaped hole in our lives. No early morning clucking. Nobody to greet you when you open the garage door.
At least we have something else to help fill it.
Even though she doesn’t lay eggs (fortunately).
Farewell girls. We miss you.
September 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
…when you can rent?
The price seems a little steep, but for the right market…
…“Homestead Phil & Jenn” have a proposal for you. They will rent you chickens. For $350, they will show up at your house in May, drop off two hens, a chicken coop, enough chicken feed to last you six months, and feed dishes. (If you live more than 50 miles away from a town that’s about 35 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, there’s an additional delivery fee.) Come November, they will come back, pick the chickens up, and keep them warm and cozy through the winter, when they don’t lay as many eggs.
August 31, 2013 § 3 Comments
A few weeks ago, despite the fact that we recently put some logs back there that we flip every other day (it introduces a bunch of new bugs for them to munch on), Paul got worried that the chickens were getting “bored”. Considering the fact that, after a year and a half of living in that pen, they regularly try to run through the chicken wire to get back into their coop, I am not too concerned about keeping them mentally stimulated.
But Paul was, and he did his research (he googled “bored chickens”) and found that apparently chickens love dangling vegetables. Specifically, cabbage. If you hang cabbage about a foot and a half off the ground, the chickens will peck at it all day long.
So Paul decided to utilize the old bird feeder…
the old bird feeder
…and now we have a head of cabbage suspended in the middle of the chicken coop.
And the chickens are entertained.
July 28, 2013 § Leave a comment
June 11, 2013 § 1 Comment
After Michele’s untimely demise, I was hesitant about getting another chicken. I began to see them as less of a cute feathery friend and more as a traumatic experience strutting around on two legs. Because ultimately, we all know how this story will end.
Not Paul. After a few days of mourning, he was back to this:
and was quick to inform me that chickens are flock animals so it is NOT OK to have only one. Especially in winter, when they need each other to stay warm. I told him so long as he’s comfortable pulling the head off of the next sick chicken we get, it was OK with me. (The truth of the matter is, Paul loves having chickens. A lot. And I do too, the yard would feel a little empty without them.)
And so, after a trip to the Memorial Day chicken coop tour….
…and a talk with the woman selling year-old pullets, meet Brunhilda.
And yes, that is where she perches, up on top of the coop. But the reason for that is another story for another time.
Brunhilda (Paul’s default name for her, pronounced “Broomhilda”….yay, German) is a Swedish Flower Hen, which just sounds adorable.
Unlike Romy or Michele, however, when you walk into the coop, she doesn’t come running up to you looking for spinach. She runs away. Fast. And when you do finally get a hold of her, she will fight and squawk and flap to the DEATH. So putting her in the coop at night is a two man job that usually involves a rake, at least one chicken getting stuck in between the slats of the fence, and takes an average of about 10 minutes.
Coincidentally, the two things progressively becoming most difficult for me to do are: 1.) move quickly, and 2.) bend down to pick something up off the ground like…oh, say, a chicken. So for me, this whole bedtime process is rapidly approaching humiliating. I am kind of beginning to suspect that Paul says he needs my help for entertainment value.
And according to some meganerd magic site that Paul sent me, this is what the mythical Brunhilda looks like.
Welcome to the ranch, B.