Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ah, the good life.

Funny you should ask if Oillie thinks they're chicken nuggets, Phil...
We've had quite a rocky couple of weeks here at the chicken house. First, on Saturday my friend Debbie came over and we took the chicks out and played with them and got them used to being handled. I totally bonded to them and starting giving them names, and was so excited. Then, I got home last Saturday night and found that my little Barred Rock chick was looking terrible. She was laying on her side, looking damp and breathing heavily. I picked her up and she looked like she was not going to make it. Now, before I go on I need to back up and tell you that there is a forum called Backyard Chickens. People post ALL KINDS of things about their chickens and can answer any question a backyard chicken owner may have. I had been reading it and there is a whole section on chicken emergencies. As I stood by the cage holding the chick and deciding where I ould put her while I went to look up what to do, she died in my hand. It was so much sadder than I was expecting... I took her outside and it was late so I didn't do a great job urying her, but I thought it would do until I could get out there and dig a better hole.
The next morning I went to the feed shop and got a replacement. I was feeling kind of rattled, but I was ok. That evening, I let Ollie out and when he ccame back in he had something he was playing with. It didn't take me too long to realize that he had dug up the baby chick. I fucking lost it. I screamed, freaked out and finally convinced him to "leave it". I put him on the leash and went to get my crazy neigbor lady to see if she could help me, and she wasn't home. So, I pulled myself together, tied Ollie up outside and went back in. I took the sweet baby chick and reburied her. The worst part was, I was so mad at Ollie and could't quite figure out why. I mean, she was already dead, and he's a dog, and I eat chicken too, etc. But I was still pissed. It took me until the next day to really get over it.

Anyway: after a few days it appeared that the new Barred Rock chick was not thriving. She was smaller than the others, wasn't really trying to fly, and just general seemed kind of runty. because of that I went and got ANOTHER chick on Thursday, this time a Black Australorp. Of course, because of the way things go, they both seem to be thriving now.

The chickens have all been named and have very distinct personalities. Pictures, names, and descriptions to follow, hopefully tomorrow.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Peep PEEP!

I got the baby chickens! They're even more cute than I ever could have imagined.
Yesterday, I went to the feed store and picked them up. There is a whole wide world of chicken breeds out there that I knew NOTHING about, but those of you who know me well know that I have now totally obsessed and know a whole lot more about chickens than I ever thought possible. I definitely wanted to get an Ameracauna chick because they lay blue or green eggs. I also wanted a Rhode Island Red, usually prolific layers, and a Buff Orpington, who are supposed to be quite docile and friendly. All the chickens but the Buff Orpingtons were arriving this week and after conferring with friends-with-chickens, I decided it was better to get all four at the same time than try to introduce a baby chick to a few older chicks. Apparently, Buff Orpingtons can get picked on quite a bit and introducing a younger baby would just make that situation worse. So, I got: two Ameraucanas, one Rhode Island Red, and one Barred Rock.

I've had them for a little over 24 hours now and thre personalities are already starting to emerge. The Barred Rock seems to be the bossy one in the group. She shoves the others out of her way when necessary and will sometimes stand on the feed bowl and block the others from eating. The Rhode Island Red is super sweet and I can't quite tell the other two apart yet.

Here's a group photo:

The Rhode Island Red is in front, the bossy Barred Rock is the black one in back, and the two in the middle are the Ameraucanas.

Here's a close up of the RIR:

They already look different than yesterday, and I'll get some more close-ups of the others tomorrow. There little wing feathers seem to be changing quickly. They make lots of noise and just peep away, and when I walk over to them (they're in the dining room) they all stop peeping and look up at me. I'm trying to handle them a bunch, though they don't want too much to do with me at this point. It feels a little awkward to refer to them by their breed names, but I'm not ready to name them quite yet. Two of these babies will technically belong to my friend Kim, so I want her help in naming them. I also want to make sure that a: they're not roosters and b: they make it, before I get too attached.

The coop is almost completed, but they won't be able to go out there for at least a couple of months.

Here is the framing:

The roof is up and the floors are going in:

A view of the inside:

Little chicken staircase:

More pictures and info this weekend. Wish me luck, especially in regards to the small furry poodle who has suddenly found his mission in life is to get as close to the chicks as possible. And cry about it the rest of the time.

Monday, February 04, 2008


I'm reviving this blog!
A lot of things have happened in my life since the last time I posted, and I thought it might be fun to get this going again.
The main excitement in my life right now is that I've done a total overhaul of the backyard, which now includes a chicken coop. Portland allows you to have up to three hens in your backyard, and I'll be getting the first chicks this week. I can't wait!
I've also been going to lots of births (21 out of the 50 I need to graduate) and knitting up a storm. More stories and pictures to follow.