our dearly departed pushkin never gave a second thought to eating the hens, in fact, he was The Great Defender of All Members of The Pack and was known to shoo cats away who prowled around to give them trouble.
but we suspected frida, having the genetics of a very predatory malamute, might be tough to teach that the chickens were not food. so we started training her when they were chicks and while she tried super hard to be good, i wasn’t very confident that she’d be able to control herself outside when the were running around, scratching and pecking and clucking.
they’ve been out in the chicken run surrounding the coop for afew months – which is plenty of space for them – but they’ve really been wanting to run around the yard to munch on bugs. so today i decided to let them out and see what would happen.
while she was interested in what they were doing, i was very surprised to see her leave them alone. and even more surprised to see them walk up to her.
i’m not going to leave them along for any extended periods of time but i’m cautiously optimistic they might all live in harmony 🙂
The Ruler of The Compost Bin Roost.
it’s fall, which means it’s time to rotate our flock of chickens which means out with the old nearly “spent” hens and in with some new girls. i didn’t write too much about the hens we got last year beyond when they started laying i think mostly because they were a lot more skittish than the prior flock of hens. i’m not exactly sure why. hi. ho. the eggs they laid were delicious!
i didn’t want to “process” them in our backyard and we already have 8 chickens in the freezer so we don’t need more for eating. what to do with them? i wandered over to our farmers market and asked one of the amish vendors if he wanted them. sure enough, he did!
odin and i wrangled them into bins, covered them up and put them in the galaxie for the short trip out to the amish farm. they knew somethign was up because they were making quite a racket!
here’s the blue ribbon winning blue-laced wyandotte from last year’s county fair. i didn’t bother to take a picture of the two black marans in the other bin because they would have made a run for it and they are very, very, very hard to catch. the ameraucana died recently when someone *cough* me *cough* left the coop and chicken run doors open and a predator did what predators do.
the sight of a old ford bringing chickens brought most of the amish family out and the 12 kids of various ages were quite curious about what was happening. i’m discovering the amish love to talk about old cars and i spent quite a bit of time leaning on the car chatting about motors with the dad while two boys tranferred the chickens to their crates.
we’ll get some more hens soon. we need our fresh eggs!
with the early warm weather greening everything up, The Girls are out happily foraging around the yard looking for Anything That Moves. it’s really amazing to sit and watch them scratch and peck with what appears to be incredible specificity as they look for bugs and ticks and whatnot where the whatnot is most likely something creepy and crawly ( ’cause, you know, chickens are not vegetarians, right? ).
while guineafowl are often cited as the premier pest controllers, i think any poultry is going to do a great job at reducing all manner of pests in the yard and garden, including dreaded deer ticks which carry lyme disease which has a high prevelance in southwest wisconsin.
with the mild winter and and warm spring i’ve been hearing a lot of reports of people finding deer ticks in town on their animals so i like to imagine The Girls are eating every last one of them as they excitedly run here and there through the yard.
in fact, if you’re in an area with a lot of deer ticks, i think it’s your duty to keep backyard chickens. i think someone should update the uncle sam expects you to keep hens and raise chickens poster to say “two hens in the back yard for each person in the house will keep a family in fresh eggs and keep the deer ticks away!”
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.
one of The Girls, wandering out and about in search of greener pastures, encounters the remains of The Last Snowman and gives him a long look, perhaps wondering if he’s going to put up a fight for his discarded carrot nose.
i don’t think he has any fight left in him.
the warmest day of spring yet with the temperature reaching just shy of 80°F create the perfect conditions in our still flowerless flower beds for a dust bath and the The Girls need no one to tell them to settle in for a Lazy Sunday of Lounging in the dirt to help control mites.
we kept a large bin of ash for them to take baths over the winter but they never seemed very interested in it. i guess maybe it just didn’t compare to a rolling around in real dirt.
chickens can sometimes have a reputation for not being particularly nice to each other but The Girls really get along quite well and it’s amusing to watch them laying all over each other enjoying the day in the dirt.