Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Pecking Order

It's been a long time since I've posted to this blog, and I know I should probably just close up shop. But my chickens just keep showing me things. Not all of them very nice. Today's lesson: the true meaning of: "pecking order," "ruling the roost" and "birds of a feather flock together." Not pretty.

This week we are integrating a new flock of six teenagers, a mix of Araucanas and Barred Rocks. I'm looking forward to having a few new Barreds, because I love how their look as they mature: their bosomy bearing and black and white toned feathers. They're very matronly and New Englandy. Stocky, sturdy, no nonsense. They are the Sisters of Notre Dame of chickens, only without the rosary beads.

My friend Pat got them to teenagerhood for us, and we brought them home Sunday night. From the minute they arrived, they wanted to hang with the big hens, who, of course, wanted nothing to do with them.

I think I heard a little Barred run up to a rather large Araucana and say, "WAZZZUP MAH BITCHES?"

Needless to say, that did not go over well. Anyway, I've kept them separate for a few days but last night, at roosting time, I decided to try some integration. But the little ones all tried to crowd up on the roost and the big Araucana would snap at them. I mean, nasty, Jaws-type snaps.

It was like a Harry Potter movie, this gigantic hen snipping and snapping at these cowering little teenage chickens. They'd take a licking from her, hop down, then pace back and forth on the ground looking up on the roost for a hole in the lineup where they'd be safe.

I stood outside the coop an hollered at the Araucana to BE NICE! She pulled back when I did this, and eventually everybody tired of the whole thing and they settled in. in.

But these hens are brutal, and I hope we don't lose a teenager in the coming week.

Any advice about peaceful new flock integration?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Savannah chicken coops we love

Okay, here's a great idea.

Forget the local garden tour.

In Savannah this year, they're doing the chicken coop tour.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The artist and her poultry

Okay, I don't know why but I found this piece in today's New York Times kind of irritating.

Actually, I do know why.

It smells a little bit of bullshit.

Feral rooster found in woods. Gentle enough within a day to be pecking mistress on the cheek?

I don't think so.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The things a mother puts up with

Is this the cutest, or what?

Watching the Araucana hen with her chicks, I've realized her body is totally shaped to take care of little ones. Her wings expand to cover them up in the nesting box in the evening, and now that they're bigger, and roosting at night, she's still protecting them.

You may not be able to see it here, but there's actually another chick tucked onto the roost between her legs. After I took this picture at dusk, I went back when it was nearly dark, and found her neck feathers had ruffled up over the remaining chick to keep her warm. (The other chick went under her wing to sleep. )

Friday, June 26, 2009

The chicks are hatching

We let an Araucana sit on the eggs and a couple have finally hatched. Hen very protective, but I shushed her out of the box for a quick picture.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The kitten and the silkie

People have told me silkies are extremely gentle and fun to have around, but I'm convinced after seeing this kooky video of a Chinese Silkie who lives in Silver Lake, Cal., that has taken a kitten under her wing. Read the story here.

View more news videos at:

Monday, June 15, 2009

And the Academy Award goes to....

There's a whole genre of chicken-flicks over at YouTube; here's a particularly fun one from Small Time Pictures.

Mad City Chickens!

There's a new documentary out about urban backyard chicken farmers. Check it out here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bulls, bears and flying chickens

The Wall Street Journal is now using the term "flying chickens"
as some kind of metaphor for investors believing in false recovery of the economy.

This led us to wonder a little bit about the whole idea of flying chickens. We know they can do it when they want to-like when they want to get inside the vegetable garden to hit on the lettuce, or nibble fresh dahlia shoots (I have always said that a fence is just a suggestion to a chicken, something to be followed, or not.)

Here's what I found. I'm thinking Letterman should do a whole show of Stupid Chicken Tricks and invite us all to New York. Dave! Llamame!