Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Ella & Shiva worship each other

Two Saterdays ago my neighbor, Donna, gave me a ride to the local chick gettin' place to purchase six baby chickens to launch my version of chicken farming. Since she has been the person responsible for honoring the landlord's wishes to see chickens pecking around the yard on his occasional respites from a whirled wind tour and I have benefitted and been encouraged to begin my own brood based on my observations during my three-day-per-week chicken feeding and watering and egg collecting over the last year, I felt it only fair that Donna share this beginning.

They were out — but would be getting in three-hundred new chicks the following Thursday at noon. My friend, Erica, offered, nay, insisted she drive me there come 11:30 on the appointed day assuring our being the second in line.

With six beautiful, week old Araucana chicks in a small cardboard box we returned to the Dawgranch to the delight of the throng Asenath, Finn, Timothy, David, Hank, Amelia, Ella, Erica, Priest and I formed for four entranced hours as they adventured o'er the 6'x4', chicken wire and bird net caged landscape of lush winter rye lawn and alfalfa straw discovering the feeder and sugar water.

Araucanas are originally a breed of chicken from South America made famous for their "Easter Eggs" of purple or blue eggs and although mixed pretty throughly in the Americanization process still retain their resemblance to game birds as adults. The variation in the markings of the chicks are so distinct that their adoring fans had given them all names within hours of their arrival — some of them were renamed multiply until settling on the names below.

Between the photographing of the pictures above and below lie the "times that try men's soul." At least mine. This morning I arose for the last time being fraught with the anxiety of having two of the babies torn out of their cage by the powerful jaws of Donna's oldest, most powerful dog and a third being mightily slimed by the time our periodic visits that first evening revealed the atrocity. Cheepmonk and Prairy Chicken were dead and Kiwi held out against her injuries until sometime before dawn this morning. After burying her I took this next photo of the vegetable and chicken gardens as the first official spring presentation of 2009 potential.

Now raised to the upper level of the coop, the survivors, Shiva, Black Jack and the Nameless One, grow wing feathers and work out code pecking at the floor as they become more like they're gonna be than they were before. This coming Thursday, Erica will drive me to the chick gettin' place once again and we will bring home three more, week younger chicks and hope for the best.


Anonymous said...

Good luck with them! I know a few farmers who raise chickens, and they agree that the hardest part is accepting the unfortunate fate of most of them. Be it from dogs, cats, raccoons, hawks, or disease. Their odds are stacked...

Also, as you probably know, the most nutritious eggs, with dark, firm yolks full of beneficial omega 3 fats are the natural result of high amounts of protein(aka: bugs)in their diet, that they don't get from seeds. They will search for many insects on their own, but keep in mind that while you are gardening, if you come across grubs, grasshoppers etc., pluck them alive and toss them in the coop. The chicks will love the treats!

And also, (not that you have cattle, but)I have read about organic gardeners who use great systems of rotating cattle grazing spots, with mobile chicken coops that rotate along a few days behind the moved cattle, and apparently the chickens tear apart the fresh dung to extract bugs in them and produce the finest quality eggs.

Mmm. All this talk is making me consider an omlette!

hugs and best wishes,
A :)

Lilwave said...

Wouldn't the nameless one have the nickname, "Tao"? Cheep,Cheep joke lol :D
I'm sad about the other ones. Glad to hear you got your chickens though. Congrats!

Yodood said...

Hi Amber and Lil'wave,
Three new chicks now accompany their seven suns senior sisters(?) in "Hank's Hennery" as they and their droppings get bigger every day. Mmmmmmm, chicken droppings and eggs for the literal cost of chicken feed.