Bye Bye Birdies!

The one-year-chicken-adventure has officially been terminated.

The girls and their coop/run  went to live on a small farm.   I’m happy.  They’re happy.   Their new owner is happy.   It’s a win/win/win.

I do miss their charming little noises  and their not-so-charming noises, too.

I miss the eggs.

That’s the end of my “What I miss” list.

The “what I don’t miss”  list is much much longer!

The poo.    Everywhere. (I decided against offering photoGRAPHIC proof)

The desolation of my flower beds.

The slightly unpleasant smell.

The early am mandatory venture to the backyard to let the poor girls out of their house.

The poo.  Everywhere.

The regular drive to the feed store to buy yet another 50lb bag of feed, 1/2 of which they would refuse to eat.

The poo.  On the door mat, where they liked to preen every evening after ravaging the yard for morsels.

The worry about bringing salmonella into the house.

The scrupulous cleaning of the kitchen every stinkin’ day because I hated the thought of chicken poo being IN THE HOUSE.  I’m no clean freak, but I do know about health risks involved with chicken poo.    *shudder*

Batman and I are glad we had chickens  and we are glad they’re living happily someplace else.   We’re also pretty happy with the two large compost piles that are enriched with that wretched poo.

Coming soon:  photos of the new and improved yard two weeks after chicken departure.

 

 

My March Project: Learn to knit socks!

I bought yarn. (this isn’t exactly the color I got…photos to come in next week)

I got a book.

I ordered the 40″ circular needle.

Now I’m impatiently waiting for the needles to arrive. It’s been five days already.

WHAT’S TAKING SO LONG?!

…meanwhile it has snowed. A real snow this time. Six inches. The chickens were so funny when I opened their coop door and they saw all the white. The four of them stood poking their heads out but not stepping out. It would have made a great photo. Naturally, I didn’t have my camera handy. When I opened the run, later in the day, to let them run in the yard they flew quickly across the snow and huddled together in one of the chairs on the back deck. They stood around and ate snow and held up one foot at a time. Silly girls.

I ended up picking them up and putting them back in the run. I spread a full bale of redwood chips in the run and it was much nicer for them to stand on. They didn’t object.

I promise to try and get a decent photo or two of these funny chickens in the snow.

The chickens are facing their first winter

We had snow a few nights ago.

I went out at 7:00a.m. (I should also mention that I do this in my jammies with a coat over top). I opened the door of the coop and, as usual, all the girls ran right out to their outside food container. I opened the top of the coop to begin my morning cleaning. Within seconds Lupin and Nugget (both Mediterranean native Leghorn chickens ) were back inside bawking to me their gentle protests about that stuff outside.

Their coop is in a nicely protected part of the yard.

I was playing the role of Crazy Chicken lady and actually talking back to them and explaining that it had snowed and then I showed them both where to find the food inside the coop. I stuck my finger in the food and they both looked at my finger and quickly walked over and began eating. I am not lying! They were griping to me. I explained the situation. They understood and calmed down. They’re the smartest chickens EVER.

Annabell likes keeping her toes warm!

My friend Susan likes to call my chickens “The FunGirls” – but we can’t decide which chicken represents which of us…or if we even WANT them to. HA

I’ve spent a lot of time reading about caring for chickens, talking to people who have chickens, and just using common sense. I’m finally comfortable with our set-up now that it has been tested.

Our coop is insulated with Styrofoam between the plywood walls. We’ve equipped it with a thermometer and the coldest I’ve seen the temperature, inside the coop, in the mornings (after a cold night) is 40degrees. We’ve already had a few nights in the teens and the chickies stayed nice and cozy.

We’ve also set up a light on a timer inside the coop. The light helps warm the coop during the day and it also provides the few extra hours of daylight to keep the chickens laying. It must be working because we’re still getting an average of three eggs each day from our very contented, happy, smart chickens.

I saw a troubling video yesterday about the “chicken factories” that produce the eggs for one of the fast-food giants who have popular breakfast sandwiches. I’ve decided to link it here. (be warned – this video made me cry)

The chickens in the video are under incredible stress and are living horrific lives. I vowed that I will never support that system again. So, while having backyard chickens is kind of a pain, it’s absolutely worth it to know that I’m not contributing to the torturous life those other chickens are enduring.

While it feels incredibly wrong to talk about food after viewing that video I do want to offer an alternative to those fast food breakfast sandwiches. I believe a homemade version is not only more economical but it is also safer (because it is made in your own kitchen) and it doesn’t support that ridiculous industry. You can even raise your own chickens or buy farm fresh eggs from someone local to you.

Here’s my recipe for our homemade DizMuffins. (sorry, I can’t take a picture of this yet. I hope to add it later)

You’ll need:
1 egg
1 bagel or English Muffin, toasted.
1 slice of cheese of choice
Butter, salt, and pepper

1 average size ceramic cereal bowl, sprayed with cooking spray.
Beat the egg in the bowl and then microwave it for 75 seconds (or until it puffs up about 1/2″ above the rim of the bowl. Immediately place the cheese on the egg so it can begin melting.
Butter the toasted bagel or muffin then scoop the cooked egg out of the bowl onto the bagel/muffin. Place the other half on top and TA DA!

I’m not a fan of nuked food, but this is very tasty!

Chicken Lovers! Look what I found.

Free Teeny Tiny knitted chicken pattern

Photo from the Teeny Tiny website linked above.

I downloaded the pattern for the TeenyTiny knitted chickens. Haven’t taken (or HAD) the time to make any, yet.

Prosperity Hens

Image from Chinaberry website.

I bought the Prosperity Hens from Chinaberry a few weeks ago. I like them. I especially like knowing that my money is helping a small community in India to support themselves.

Speaking of chickens. I was talking to my good friend Marci recently and we were recalling a charming little article in one of those prissy “Life-is-some-kind-of-frilly-dream” magazines. The article was about keeping chickens IN (yeah – IN…as in…IN) the house. This dear woman was writing about how she re-purposed an old wrought iron baby crib and turned it into a pen for those times when one would need to keep the precious little birdies confined in French Country style. Then she went on to sweetly tell us that we could keep a nappy (translation = DIAPER) on the chickens to keep the house clean and poo-free. *cough*crazyperson*cough*

Now that I’ve had four chickens for six months (living happily outside) I can say, with near certainty, THAT LADY MUST BE NUTS!!!

I am certainly not a clean freak. I have dirty floors and dust bunnies galore. I’m just not interested in adding numerous piles of chicken droppings to it! Don’t even get me started about the smell.

Seriously?! A diaper on a chicken?! Does she have any idea how much an average adult chicken poops?!?! Seriously?!? And (this is the scariest part) Where does the egg go when the birdie is wearing a diaper?!?!?!

Answer: The trash! That’s where.

If anyone tries to tell you how charming it is to keep your chicken in your New York City apartment. Do yourself a favor. Laugh hysterically and RUN.

(for added entertainment you can do a search of youtube for indoor chickens. Hooo Boy. Get ready for the fun!)

The Queen is not amused.

Lupin says, “If you’re referring to the incident with the Hosta…I was barely involved.”

Annabelle, “Hey.  Youze guys.  Deez here are amazin!”

I stood watching  like a LUMP instead of shooing them away.

Mmmm Hmmm.  Barely involved.
Lupin, “Psst.  Annnaaaaa.  I think she sees you.”
Annabelle, “We gotta work fast goils!”
Chorus, “Nom nom nom”
                                        Uh oh!    Everybody run!!!
Less than 5 minutes, too.