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If You Give a Monkey a Chicken

They're Not Just Pets - They're What's For Dinner!

11/22/05 08:24 pm - I'm no longer updating this journal

What I'm doing instead is syndicating my other journal. You can get the feed by friending mountainchicken which I update really regularly with actual photos of the chickens and interesting stories about their lives.

11/7/05 03:21 pm - Life Goes On Without Me

I've been miserably sick the last few days, and that always upsets the apple cart.

It's a cascade, you know. I get sick, so not all the chores get done because I can't do them and everybody's taken up with taking care of me, and then I feel guilty and try to get up before I should and just end up making myself worse.

What it comes down to is that I haven't posted lately, but I have a ton of pictures and another couple of movies to download of the chickens.

My dear pirateguillermo spent his entire weekend building on the chicken coop. It should be ready by next weekend at the latest. In the meantime, the poor little chickens are starting to feel a little crowded together.

In the meantime, Hide and Peep is the next of the chickie movies. I tried the snoring trick again, but this time it had completely unexpected consequences.

10/30/05 08:52 pm - Chickies Day Out

We spent a huge amount of time this weekend working on the chicken house. Today, mortaine stopped by to make some drawings of the little chickies, and we took the opportunity to let the little chickies have their first day out.

First, mortaine took some video of me doing the amazing snoring trick on the chickies, and it worked like a charm. Then she watched while Peaches herded the chickies out of their pen over to a little patch of weedy grass (grassy weeds?) at the side of the driveway. Their first taste of peep freedom, and they reveled in it. Eating dirt, pulling up microscopic weeds, taking their very first spastic dirt baths...it was adorable.

As it got a little chillier, we herded them back into their pen, but it was plain that with their first taste of freedom, it was going to be a lot harder to keep them penned in.

10/28/05 09:48 am - Chicken Chores

As of yesterday, the chickens have lived with us for a total of 9 days. But somehow it seems like they've always been here. We're astounded at how fast they're growing, but getting ahead of ourselves in terms of what they're ready for.

For instance: while they're excited by the sight of spiders and are now adept at snapping them up and eating them (go, chickies!), they're not quite ready to forage. Part of it has to do with the fact that it's too cold out for them still. Their wings are fully-feathered, their tails are mostly feathered (on some breeds) but their bodies are still only covered with fluff. It's easy to let my perception of their rapid growth lead me to move faster than might be wise.

On the other hand, their rapid growth has really lit the fire under us to finish the chicken coop. It's fully framed, it just needs the plywood nailed on and the droppings boards constructed and put into place. I should also put the roosts together, as I know how big they're going to be, and constructing them isn't dependent on anything else.

The girls are responding to the chickies in a much better way than I had hoped. I went down last night to muck out the pen (which means transfering the chicks to some kind of holding box, sweeping up and shoveling out the soiled litter, making sure that all the soiled litter is swept up from around the outside of the box as well, putting in fresh litter and tending to food and water) and both the girls followed me down wanting to help. I really never thought that cleaning up poop would prove a popular chore, but they'll take any opportunity to interact with the peeps.

I'm tempted to put a peep on the postal scale and see exactly how big they're getting.

10/24/05 12:34 pm - Peep Show

Click here for chickie movie!

A minute and twenty-four seconds of the chickies being excited because they found a spider. This movie may look like it's being run in some kind of stop-time Keystone Cops fashion, but I have to say this is the way baby chickens actually move. They sit there listlessly for a few seconds, and then every once in a while, one of them launches itself across the pen like its tail is on fire.

10/24/05 10:23 am - Poultry's Progress

This weekend was productive for us AND for the little chickies.

The little chickies have been putting on feathers and growing by leaps and bounds (literally - they're leaping and bounding all over the place).

The coop is coming along. The frame is done, and we have lumber for the floor, walls and roof.

The lovely blythe025 came by to meet the chickies, and she and I had a good time watching her cuddle and snuggle the little fluff balls. I must say, she seemed to love them up more than I have. It's sort of cute. Pics to follow.

10/22/05 10:34 pm - Spiderific!

We kept going back and forth between the stuff we had to do for construction of the coop and watching the chickens. At one point, Pirate Guillermo came in with a millipede and set it down in the pen. It sat there for a minute, curling and uncurling. The chicks didn’t pay it much mind until it started flipping itself around, and then one particularly intrepid little chick snatched it up and started running around the pen, peeping loudly. Every other chick in the pen gave chase, peeping and flapping and otherwise having a lovely time. Once in a while the chick would drop the millipede and someone else would snatch it up and run away and everyone would chase him.

A little while later, I found a gigantic spider and I put it in the chicks’ pen. It took them a while to find it, and the spider himself was no fool. He crouched in a corner, seemingly aware that the second he moved, the chicks would see him and come for him. It was an accident that one of the chicks found him and gave him a little peck. The spider scurried through the mesh of the pen and the chicks were done out of one heck of a feast.

For the rest of the day, every time we found a sizeable spider, we’d stick it into the chicks’ pen and they’d grab it up. I don’t know offhand whether they actually ate the spiders and bugs, but they had a grand old time chasing them around.

Next week, we can let them out of the pen for the first time. I think that might come early. They seem too curious about the world outside to keep them penned up forever.

That’s my chickens – already thinking outside the box!

10/21/05 11:55 am - A New Trick

Last night I went down to visit the chickies and see how they're getting along. Just fine, thank you. They're already getting wing feathers and are at least half an inch taller (on a two-inch tall body, it's REALLY noticeable) than they were yesterday.

But here's a thing. They were all milling around peeping and jumping and I started making a rhythmic snoring sound.

First, they stopped dead in their tracks. Then, one by one, they sat down and went to sleep. Mom said she'd never seen anything like it before. Just to be sure, half an hour later, I took the Pirate downstairs and showed him and it worked again. They're totally hypnotized.

Weird.

10/20/05 01:15 pm - Chick Mugshots

Pictures courtesy of McMurray HatcheryCollapse )

All I can say is that I will not be going on to the bonus round, although I have a lovely version of the home game and a lifetime supply of chicken poop.

10/19/05 08:47 pm - The Chicks Are Here!

Cut for tons of large graphics of cute baby animals which will make the faint of heart go all a-twitter.Collapse )

The scariest thing is that they just fall over and close their eyes. When my girls were tiny, each of them spent her first six months in a cradle next to my bed. I got up a zillion times a night for the first few weeks to make sure she was breathing. These poor chickies have had to put up with me poking them to make sure they're not dead. I knew this would happen. They'd flop over to go to sleep and I'd panic.

So, they're here. And all 26 of them made it just fine. They were thirsty when they arrived, but they've been eating and drinking like crazy. They're mingling and peeping and pooping and sleeping and drooping and in a few minutes, it'll be time for me to change out their newspaper. Man. Can chickens ever poop.

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