…are worth four in the bush?
after we sent the last flock to a nice amish family we thought we’d get some new chickens soon but then frida came into our lives and we decided a new puppy and new chickens was a bit too much to take on at the same time.
so we decided to wait until spring had sprung knowing the down side of waiting until frida was older was it would be that much more difficult to teach her the chicks were not actually food, despite what all of her instincts were telling her.
the local tractor supply store had some chicks for sale this weekend and we thought it was as good a time as any to pick up a few and start her training.
i have to admit i was not very optimistic we’d have much success, since malamutes have a strong prey instinct. the chicks are spending their first couple of weeks in a bin on our dining room table under a heat lamp and while frida hasn’t jumped up on table, she hears their peeping and looks at me like she’s wondering when i’m going to give her a snack.
basic training at this stage involves getting frida used to the chicks by putting them next to her snout and telling her “no bites”. when she doesn’t attempt to bite, she gets a treat! odin is a big helper and after years of training knows how to make the chicks feel safe. or at least as safe as they’re going to feel when put next to the snout of a canine!
we got the chickens yesterday and when we tried the training after they first came home friday tried to chomp their heads off 🙂
but today she’s doing much better and she’s really, really, really trying to overcome her instincts. her tongue is a “tell” to what she’s really like to be doing.
after a looooooong 30 seconds or so of doing a great job of not attempting the eat the chicken, frida finally got a treat.
i think it took a lot of effort on her part.
odin is doing a tremendous job here as well, calming both the chick and frida. if he were to let the chick start flapping her wings or wiggle just a bit too much it would probably set frida into a bit of a frenzy. he’s both a dog and chicken “whisperer” 🙂
a super successful day of training! no harm, no foul. ahem.
i’m amazed that frida has come so far so quickly. we’ll see how she does after a few weeks when they’re running around on the floor
and so, after moving 3 yards of dirt from one place to another i thought it’d be nice to take a rest on the lawn and say hello to The Girls who are normally a little wary of The Big Man, but are willing to abandon The Raspberry Patch to investigate when he has A Bit of Food.
being well-versed in The Way of The Chicken, i do believe they are thinking, “WHATCHADOING? WHATCHADOING? WHATCHADOING? GOTSOMEFOOD? GOTSOMEFOOD? GOTSOMEFOOD?”
and more, “WHATCHADOING? WHATCHADOING? WHATCHADOING? GOTSOMEFOOD? GOTSOMEFOOD? GOTSOMEFOOD?”
being The Great Defender of All Members of The Pack, pushkin decides it’s time to investigate The Situation.
without being too anthropomorphic, i recognize well the slight furrowing of his brow indicating Worry that Someone or Something May Be In Distress.
all is Right As Rain, though, with a good scratch behind the ears.
around, ironically enough, dinner time i walked outside to find odin and a friend sitting on the picnic table happily chatting away about this and that while petting a couple of The Girls who have become increasingly adjusted to a life of constant love and affection from odin who adores All Things Great and Small.
while absolutely adorable, it does highlight the challenge that lies ahead to get him to understand that many of them will eventually become dinner.
turns out, The Girls, love, love, love the strawberry patch. it’s pretty darned cute to watch them race – and i do mean race – over to the patch when we let them roam free in the yard.
unfortunately they’re going to be pretty bummed when we mow over the strawberries this weekend.
it’s hard to believe the harvest is done and it’s already time to prep for next year.
we’ve been talking about getting chickens for quite some time, partly for fresh eggs ( although there is certainly no shortage of farm-fresh organic eggs in the area ) and partly to have fun with odin learning about where food comes from – know your farmer, know your food! caring for chickens and collecting eggs is nothing new to odin since he’s lucky enough to go to a school that has a couple of birds right on the school grounds.
so after years of talking, we finally went out to chett’s feed and seed and bought some chicks! two ameraucanas ( they lay blue-green shelled eggs ), two australorps, two orpingtons and one light brahma. if all goes as planned we’ll pick up a couple of barred rocks soon.
for the next 5 weeks or so, they’ll stay in a brooder under a heat lamp as slowly ween them from a toasty 95F to ambient temperature.
odin quickly took to letting the chicks smell his hands and soon they were eating away from them.
he’s going to make a fine egg farmer.