25 October, 2008

The barred's iambeak pentameter

We're proud to hear the little rooster crow,
except we know his mister status puts
him in a pot for dinner or a lunch,
unless a country lady hears his fate,
and cannot bear to see him on a plate.

20 October, 2008

A chicken-oriented weekend

Well! Our coop had a couple of big changes. First, the Rhode Island Rhed was indeed a rhooster. We took him to Patagonia over the weekend, where we were going to see Meg in a play at the Tin Shed Theatre. Sasha and Summer, who own the Gathering Grounds in Patagonia, were looking to increase their flock. They already had one rooster though, and he was much much bigger than our beloved Rhett Butler. Sasha, who grew up on a farm, promised that their rooster's pecking would only establish dominance and not result in death. Cecile wasn't so sure. But since the stewpot was an option, we thought this was worth a try. Of course, we'd stopped along the way to catch grasshoppers for our little buddy so he was full and happy entering the new coop. Apparently there will soon be over a dozen hens all for him. That should also ease his pain.

Back at Chicks Rule, our hens begged for company. Really! As we'd already planned to attend a little festival out at Brandi Fenton Park that was to feature local chicken fanciers, we took Rhett's (cat) carrier along. We had to agree before leaving home that we wouldn't buy more than a couple dozen new chicks. We saw the most amazing birds. Cecile's favorite was a breed called Phoenix. But the raiser with those would only sell "a pair" -- implacably meaning only a male and a female. Sigh ... How can she sell "pairs" to people who live within city

limits? Fortunately, we met Janice. She was sharing her high school science class's projects: 7/8s Silkie and 1/8 Cochin. We'll post better pictures soon. We have here the Silkies coming out of the carrier and below that a bit of the welcoming festivities. (Machu thinks they're pigeons!) So, the two we brought home are greyish and very small even though they're a year old. Janice says they're laying pinkish eggs, and they're apparently a very broody type of hen. We have yet to learn what all that means (e.g., how to lift up a pecking hen to steal her eggs). One of them is molting, and she's exceedingly ugly right now. Janice, who teaches genetics, was very generous with advice. She gave us a lot of informaton about her organic flock (Tucson readers: She sells eggs for $5/dozen at St. Philip's Farmer's Market.) and how to check for mites and when to cut the chickens' nails and beaks. Sheesh! We didn't even know that they needed pedicures. In this picture of a Silkie with the Welcoming Committee, you can see that our 5-month-olds are twice as big as these hens twice their age! The Bard appears to be Top Hen now. She's pecked the Silkies several times. We're trying service dog training techniques on her (DON'T timed just right), but it's not yet clear that it's working. Last night, the Silkies' first night with us, we put them in the corner nests with their own private food and water. The Committee appears to have left them alone overnight, but in the morning each one came up the ladder to inspect the new chickens. The Bard gave a reminder peck and then stole some food and then galumphed back down the ladder.

Last, because Cecile knows you'll enjoy this, here is Jesse cutting Buffy the Vampire Layer's nails. Getting the chicken's head under her arm was the easy part. Cecile of course had the far more difficult job of photographer. SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK!

16 October, 2008

The bard's iambic pentameter in Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.

15 October, 2008

Poultry in Motion

Although our fan base is minute, it includes some fine artists. This photo comes to us from Steve The Photoshop Instructor, via Terri and Maria. Thank you, chicken fans!

13 October, 2008

A Very Small Chicken

OK ... we're tired of watching Rhett Butler to see if s/he's going to crow. The hummers must be migrating now. They're lively.

07 October, 2008

Something like 7th grade graduation

This past weekend, our chickens graduated from chick mash to layer crumble. This is a big step in their progress towards egg laying. The Rhode Island Rhooster appears to be falling into line. Maybe he changed his mind and decided to stay female so as to get that yummy layer crumble. And for your reading pleasure: Chicken Feed.

02 October, 2008

Chicken hawks

By which we do not mean the political or the gay. We're more concerned about Cooper's Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and Western Red-tailed Hawks (in that order above). While Cecile was in Spain, Jesse saw what looked like a huge and hawkish dove over the coop. Our neighbor Karla, who can see the coop from her house, had warned her about it. There are several hawks in the neighborhood. Cecile always roots for them when it looks like they're taking on the pigeons. Anyway, we've seen Coopers and Red-tails, but we don't think we've seen Sharp-shins here. Judging from this drawing though, it might be hard to distinguish one from a Cooper's Hawk.