Internal Cracked Eggs

internal-cracked-egg

This Egg has been cracked while in the Oviduct of the hen.

Weird things happen to eggs while they are in the Oviduct of the chicken. I’ve posted a lot of photos of weird eggs but this one is one of the weirdest I think.

The hen who laid this egg got a heck of a jolt while the egg was making its way down the oviduct. A jolt hard enough to break the egg while the shell was forming. The hens body went ahead and patched the shell for her before it was laid. That is not always the case actually…

With hens, an egg cracking inside can be certain death. When this happens, if it’s not expelled by the hen, but is stuck inside, peritonitis usually kills the bird fairly quickly. You can look up peritonitis in the internet easily. It’s a nasty situation.

That is not the case with this lucky bird!  She is still laying those cracked eggs though…  I’m puzzled as to what is happening. I think I have an idea, but not certain if that’s the problem. I have one nest which is really high off the ground. The girls love that nest. I think she’s too heavy for the job of staying in the nest when others want in. She hops down before she has laid her egg, and it’s getting cracked before it’s out. Evidently, it’s not so badly cracked that the body can’t mend it when it happens.

Here’s what happens inside while in the laying process.

ovaduct-hen I’m still learning on my journey, and I do like to share with you what I learn…

♥Chicken Mom♥

Communication in Pecking

When I go see the girls which is many times in one day. They all have a different way of behaving. Some are the “in your face” sort of happy (and demanding) to see me. Others can be a bit more “meh, you again”… Usually most of them are within touching range, and are quite inquisitive. If I sit down, I’ll have a lap full of chickens in a moment. They love to sit and talk to me, or groom me… I’ve had little bits of stuff pecked off so gently, I hardly feel it. Then there’s those obnoxious pecks…

Cleopatra - Cuckoo Maran

Cleopatra – Cuckoo Maran

One of the things I am just getting to understand is pecking. Not all pecking is bad. Imagine that! I figured pecking of any sort should be stopped immediately, but the more I am around them, I realized that they talk with not just the noise factor and body language, but with the pecking they do.

Cleo, will peck me just because she wants me to pick her up, or wants attention in general. She’s an odd bird who’s quite happy to have attention period. Even negative attention. She doesn’t seem to care, either way. Pecking is equivalent to a human tapping on your shoulder to get your attention.  It doesn’t hurt; normally.

There’s as many peck types as there are chickens. I can’t take photos of pecking very easily, so bear with my personal descriptions.

Types of pecks:(I get)

OMG! Is that Food??? (peck)

let me get that schmutz off!…(peck) 

Hey! Look at me! (peck)

Pay attention to me! (peck)

Do Not Pick Me Up! (peck!)

It’s MY LAP TIME! (peck other bird) 

I’m going to eat your hand off!! (pecking hard)

I’m Broody Leave Me Alone!!!! (PECK – CACKLE – PECK)

Hey! Are those long hairs edible??? (testing peck- Nope! Dayam)…

Um, Sasquatch Hair-legs? I can help you with that…. (PECK) Me: OUCH!

Scratch my Waddle… (peck)

I need a Hug… (peck)

MY CHIN ITCHES (PECK – RUB)

Ooooooooooooh Buttons! (PECK)

Ooooh Ring Shiny and Edible! (PECK PECK)

A BUG!!! (peck)

~~~~~~~I think you can see that this list goes on and on. ~~~~

However, with all that typed out above, few of those pecks are out right mean. Most of the pecking I initiated myself when I encroach into their safe zone or was just not behaving according to Chicken Decorum. They do have rules in the chicken yard and those are things I have learned or get pecked.

The pecks are seldom mean pecks. They are just small reminders. I’ve never been out right attacked by any of the chickens. They know better. I am the Dominant Hen, and master of their world. I do have a couple of hens who test me…  Georgia who’s always ready to step into my dominant hen shoes if I submit. She’s gotten backhanded a few times. (Below)  Another Australorp.

georgia

Then there Maggie, who reminds me daily that she’ll eat anything on my body which she deems edible… There is NO teaching Maggie. She’s an insistent and incorrigible Australorp; named after my Grandmother, who acts nothing like Maggie. I promise! 🙂

Maggie

Maggie

The Chicken Mom~♥

Egg Surprises

You  just never know what will come out of the rump of a hen… I mean hardly a day goes by which I don’t find myself a bit surprised with the sort of eggs I find in the nest. I find, Bumpy ones, LONGGGG ones, Short ones, Pale, Dark, Blotchy, Thin shelled, Leathery, Small Walnut sized ones. The list is inexhaustible!

Usually when I find a “Wind Egg” they are tiny with only the white inside. This time though, when I picked up the nugget off of the ground (which was unceremoniously dumped), cracking it revealed a small centered yolk. I was surprised really. Then I found myself wondering if it had been fertilized would it have made a “Little Chicken”?

Wind Egg with a yolk

Wind Egg with a yolk 

Then you get the other end of the spectrum on the same day, with a massive egg appearing, looking more like three normal size eggs in one.  I pity the poor gal which laid this egg.  I even looked at the hens and said, “I’m sorry”!

jumbo

 

(That other egg, is an Extra Large. What we call a Regular size.)

When I cracked this Ginormous Egg for breakfast in the morning, I didn’t need to crack a second or a third.  It was just under 8 fluid ounces of deliciousness.

Here is an example of “leather eggs”. They are by far the most weird things ever laid.  The egg is normal inside the membrane casing, but the shell of the egg, never forms. This can happen because of stress, age or condition of the bird. This chicken egg was laid by my lovely (old lady) Black Sex Link. She’s going on nine years old now and every so often she’ll let the whole world know she laid, “something”… I’m always in a rush to find out what exactly!

Weird Leather Like Shelled Egg

Weird Leather Like Shelled 

Wishing you all a Lovely New Year!!

~Chicken Mom~ ♥

Defending the Flock

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Remember when I write, I tell it like it is. You  may not like it, or you may be disgusted by it. However, sometimes life is just sort of disgusting. You and I will both recover from the knowledge.

My sleep has been really off and on, since this lovely time change. Last night was no different. I nodded off on the couch, evidently I was so out of it, I was still there at 2:30 AM. Suddenly, I popped awake and realized I needed to tote my rump to bed. That’s when I heard a chicken…. My girls do not make any sounds at night, except the gentle cooing and mumbles which you can detect if you are standing nearby.

The chicken coop and yard, is about 20 feet from my living-room windows. I wanted them near me, in case they ever needed me, I might hear them. Well, I did hear them. Actually, I heard two hens quite loudly, and I was grabbing slippers (should have grabbed shoes), and then because the noise was getting louder, I was looking for anything I could beat off wild animals with (also, should have thought through this better). Of course, I find a broom! Oh, yeah, that’s going to work wonderfully… (NOT).

So, I’m running out the door, into the dark, swinging a blue broom handle, wearing slippers, PJ’s and gritting my teeth! I’m so full of adrenalin now, that I could kill whatever was messing with my ladies with my bare hands…

They are in panic mode now with full-blown yells and screams of pure fear. I bust in there with a broom and see a possum hanging on the wall just a few inches from my ladies. I whacked it soundly with the broom handle and kept hitting it, and hitting it. Then, it finally let loose and fell to the ground and started to come at me. My broom handle broke, so I looked for something else.  I find a hammer!(Yeah this ends badly. Can you tell?)

IMG_0426

I took one solid swing at the possum and it fell. Once it was down I was not going to quit hitting it! (I mean we all know possums, “Play Possum”). They lay there pretending to be dead. Well, NO ONE attacks my hens and lives to tell about it. I smacked that possum with that hammer until I knew he was dead or dang near it.

I’m shaking so badly, when it’s dead, I don’t realize it’s about 45* outside and I’m standing there with a bloody hammer my fuzzy slippers and my short PJ’s. Not exactly the ‘picture of the year’, or a good Photo Op.

I just killed another living thing, while protecting my chicken kids… I’ve never really had to do that myself. I’m kind of in shock, beating it to death with a hammer. It’s then I realize that this thing has massive teeth and I was just 10 short inches from that gaping hole of a mouth, with  all those teeth. I never saw them… I didn’t care. It was going to hurt my girls! That could not happen on my watch. It didn’t. (Just so you know from my personal experiences; yes, possums will hurt chickens. Not nearly as quickly as a Raccoon, but yes they will do it).

The coop has a lamp to use in emergencies. I found the plug and turned it on. Slowly, I go around checking chickens and making sure no one is hurt or missing. Some are so terrified they are huddled in corners in the back of the chicken run 40 feet or so away from the coop. I go out there, pick them up and carry them into the roots, cooing over them and checking them out as we walk. My talking soothes them and my world begins to take shape again, into a form feeling more normal.

My Amazing human kids come out to see what the heck is happening. They heard the commotion as well. Most of the drama is over. Thankfully. It helped me relax hearing their voices. At least I had reinforcements, should this dead thing revive. They are offering help; I remember only vaguely.

Brian my Son in Law took the body of the dead possum and buried it, which I am thankful for. I had no stomach left for it. My Daughter Casey talked me down into a more normal state, helping me focus back to Mom, and not “She-Ra princess of power”, with a hammer. (I wish I’d had her sword)…

hero_art1

I really don’t know how to end this….

OK.  I’ve been asked if the girls were alright?  Yes, they were fine. Evidently, their sounds were what woke me up in the first place, so the possum had little time to cause damage.  They were traumatize and a couple eggs were prematurely dropped onto the coop floor, but nothing hurt them.

They are my friends, even if it sounds a bit dorky.

Chicken Mom Out…

Chickens On A Shoestring Budget

I have had so many worries about raising chickens through the last 4 years and wondered if I was “doing it right”. Somewhere about the last two years I realized that, as may ways to raise chickens exist, as there is sand on a beach.

I look at the pristine chicken farmers posts with their neatly built structures and think, “SEE! I’m doing it all wrong!”  No. Actually I’m doing this right for Me.

One of the things I did right, but swore I had wrong, was building temporary shelters instead of permanent ones. Everything I have in the chicken yard, is easily dismantled and put up in a different spot.  For my O.C.D. tendency’s and quirky nature, this proves very valuable. Tomorrow, I may wake up and think, “Oh gez this set up isn’t working like I wanted it to”. Then go about redesigning the whole shebang! My husband is usually patient with me and my constant changing.

Below you will see the most valuable piece of equipment in my arsenal of tricks.

IMG_0021 Did you see it?  That black plastic fencing?  Let me tell you, it’s amazing to have when you need to separate birds of different ages. In the front you will see some juvenile Ameraucana, and Cochin in the front and behind them is another group of birds who would not get along with the newbies. This fence gives the older wiser meaner birds time to adjust to the new-comers.

This is something else I use to keep the birds cooler in the blistering 90-100 temperatures here in Florida. Note the temporary used billboard covers. I use them as drapes sometimes to block any sunshine which may reach into the nesting area. Now that I know more of what they need, I have plans ready for a fixed structure.  IMG_0500 Chickens do not do well in Heat. That is without exception.

“A chicken’s normal body temperature hovers near 104 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s not difficult for them to maintain a healthy body temperature when the air is at least 10 to 15 degrees below that.

During times of extreme temperatures, producers must dissipate the excess body heat of their flock quickly. When a chicken’s body temperature reaches 113 to 117 degrees Fahrenheit, it is in danger.

Without sweat glands to cool their skin, birds rely on their respiratory system. Chickens pant to cool themselves, as the panting evaporates water from the throat to lower body temperature.”

( I didn’t type that one part, so I’m putting the link to the information page here).  This is a very good article and a must read!

This photo below, looks really rag-tag, but I wanted to show you how to make use of things you may already have, without going to the local Hardware store and buying the place out. It’s alright to use what you have on hand. You can always upgrade to a better building later, which I am doing myself. We change things at least three times a year, as our needs out there change and evolve.

We are in the process of planning a more permanent structure in this spot (Which means my husband is going to want to slowly strangle me…. ).

It’s hard to see but we have a 9 foot fence dividing the back area from the foreground area where the door is.  That is my brooder for the babies. I actually have birds who can scale an 8 foot fence; so, I made it 9 feet and attached it to the roof. The babies are all grown now, so I have some old ladies now in the brooder area. The “new ladies” (babies) are up front where the nesting boxes and large coop are. The old girls get to enjoy being free to do whatever… Occasionally they even give me an egg!IMG_0334

A Local store had a sale on office type storage boxes, and I bought ten of them. They became the nesting boxes of choice. The girls don’t mind one bit that they cost me a dollar each! I have them Zip-Tied to the support boards. I can move them around quite easily!IMG_0237

 

Well, there you go…  At least a little bit of what I do on a Shoe-String budget.

What Breed Chicken?

What Breed Chicken Is Your Favorite?

Blogging to me is all about being humorous about things I face daily, and along the way share a bit of information I have learned. One of the big questions I get from people is, “What Breed Chicken is my favorite?”. I usually blog about the general group of “ladies” but today I will share about a few individuals who just make having chickens, worth the busted knuckles, sore muscles, and tired days.

For instance; can you look at this face

So? You want your fingers...

So? You want your fingers…

and tell me that you don’t want to laugh your ass off? If you don’t, then you are broken somehow. Your funny-bone has gone sour. 

That face “Elizabeth” is making is purely diabolical! I laughed so hard at her, I cried. 

She was so damn mad that day. It had rained almost non-stop for 3 long days. She’d been wet so many times her fluffy-pants were getting wet, as well as the other feathers on the outside. She was insisting that I MAKE IT STOP RAINING. I’m sure that’s what that face says…

Funny thing about it is, they do have a shelter. She wants to walk out in the rain, get soaked, and then look at me like I did it! Whew! Some of them just have such high ideals about my ability to control the environment they live in. Yes, I am a chicken Goddess, but I can’t always keep back the wet weather.

Elizabeth has always been a favorite of mine. She’s an Ameraucana and her eggs are a lovely aqua color. Her temperament is really weird. She’s a lovely huger (to me), and enjoys me picking her up and nuzzling her neck, but she’ll kick any other hens fanny if they intrude in her airspace. She’s a dominate hen. With her little body, (just under 4 pounds) it’s a bit surprising to know she has the heart of a lioness. 

  elizabeth    Here she is with a dry face! She looks way happier, now doesn’t she? She’s just as happy as a pig in a mud-puddle!

Anyone who feels chickens have no moods or personality, just needs to compare these two photos. It will change that idea in a moment.

I secretly knew she’d eat me, if I died, out in the chicken pen…

chicken-eating-me

(Thank you Natalie Dee.com for the borrowed image)

The other hen whom makes a world of difference in my day, is Victoria.

Victoria2

Victoria, is Elizabeth’s sister.  Here is her sweet little face. She is one of the most docile of birds. I love her dearly. Once a Dog got in the yard and attacked her. She was pretty badly injured but I had to try to save her. She was my buddy!  We patched up her wounds and slowly she improved. Thankfully!

Victoria is also an Ameraucana. She’s darker in color but still the same breed.

One quirk about her, is that she is the worst broody hen I have.  It’s so bad that most of the time she sits the nest and I have to force her off of it! It’s useless… I finally decided she can just sit there. She’s not a violent broody hen, just quietly sits there hoping she’ll hatch out a baby or two. She won’t. I don’t have any roosters (That’s another blog).

 This is Victoria, after the dog tried to have her for dinner… Getting all fixed up. She was so calm for a wounded  bird. I’ve done many, and this is the most passive I ever remember one being. She’s just a darling…

victoria3

 I really can’t even tell you how much I love this girl. Really this breed is sizing up to be my favorite breed of chicken. They have personality plus, and I’d have a whole flock of them. 

Are they great layers? Well no… They are not dependable layers. It seems to be a personal thing though, and not really an indication of the breed as a whole. Elizabeth laid her eggs regularly about, 4-5 a week. While Victoria is a fussy-pants diva and lays when she damn well feels like it (rarely). When she does lay though, she has the most stunning egg color! They are a darker Aqua and always bring a smile to my face.

The breed is fun and a novelty. However, if you want Eggs on a regular basis, I’d shop elsewhere. soggybottomgirlSpeaking of Elsewhere. Soggy-Bottom is a breed chicken called Araucana. They are from South America and lay blue eggs. Not a dark blue but a pretty light blueish egg. All of the colored egg laying chickens, lay different hues of color; Some darker in color than others. Some of the greens are Greener than others.  While some eggs, bluer than the rest. Also, it depends on the day, the weather, and what they have eaten that week. It all effects the egg color of a hens egg. She is an Egg-Laying Machine. You can depend on 6 eggs a week and seldom have a bad week in laying.

Soggy-Bottom-Girl, is in her molt season right now, and she’s an old girl who isn’t really laying. I figure she’s over eight years old now. I’d easily buy more just like her. 

She has a story all on her own. I won’t take time today to fill you in. The brief of her history, is that she was (more or less) a rescue bird. A chicken man was “cutting down the size of his flock” and put them up for sale. I was the fish that bit that line. He told me, “They are 2-3 years old”, and lay nicely. Well, he didn’t lie about that. Those birds I bought from him, were laying fools. They were not in amazing shape however, and I was determined I’d take as many as I could get that day. I did, and ended up with 13 birds, of which she was one. 

 Soggy-Bottom-Girl, is called that mostly because she has a weak vent and it leaks. I’ll wait a few seconds, while you get that mental image…  

Her butt is always wet. It’s not her fault though. I think she must have had a horrible fight with other birds while he had her, because her right eye-lid is droopy and she doesn’t see as well with it. Then there’s that issue of her bottom. Even if I had the slightest idea of getting rid of her, that thought would have been dashed with her ability to lay massive aqua eggs. They were the prettiest eggs I’d ever seen… However, getting rid of her never even popped up.

Here in the chicken yard, we have 5 colored egg layers. They are, Victoria, Elizabeth, Soggy-Bottom-Girl,  Little-Owl, and Farrah. 

Farrah  Farrah

Little Owl

Little Owl

 Both Farrah and Little-Owl are a bantam weight “Easter-Egger” bird of little more than 2 pounds and they lay lovely greenish-blue eggs. I’m holding a small egg of Farrah’s.

aqua egg

Now, if you talk about different personality birds from the same group of eggs, it’s these two. Farrah is flighty, and unfriendly. She views people as EEEEEVIL and wants nothing to do with them, except the food we bring.

Little-Owl is Amazing!  She is my constant companion out in the chicken yard. She’s with me almost all the time, while I am working out there. If I ignore her, she’ll hop up and grab onto a finger she can reach, and then stare at me, wanting UP. If I stoop down, she happily awaits for me to lift her up and kiss her birdy face, and hug her. She hugs right back… 

Honestly, 4 years ago when I began this journey,  I didn’t know hens hugged… I do now. 

 

♥♥The Chicken Mom♥♥

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Amazed Disgusted and Shocked

July 19, 2014

Amazed Disgusted and Shocked I need to warn you in advance, this is not for the faint of heart, OK? If you get squeamish easily, ya best click off and leave now.


Putting off the chicken coop cleaning was done for long enough! I’d fiddle-farted around most of the spring and the spiders and icky stuff was beginning to get to me (Insert disgusted face here (Really I wish I had one of those “insert face here” on this blog-post editor!).

Weekly, one needs to clean the shavings of poop, and then do general maintenance, of raking, picking up random bits of trash and god-knows-what, that the hens dig up in the yard. Then you have to clean up the storage area of the stuff you thought you wanted to keep and now find you can surely do without.

It’s all good, but it can wear you out. I’d let this go for several weeks now and was sort of tired with all the catching up I’d done for the last hour.

Along with the usual cleaning, I also decided to do that Spring Cleaning, I skipped doing! I’m going to hate myself in the morning, I can tell already.

When my husband brings me the pressure washer, I’m elated that I get to blast the shit out of stuff with water, but appalled at the thought of how much my arms are going to hurt in the morning. I begin by washing down the walls, back corner, then out to the front corner. After that, I blast the roof where the spider webs are! If you are as arachnophobia prone as I am, you know that you would also back out closer to the door, one step at a time, while you blast away. Just so you don’t end up with an unhappy spider landing down your shirt…

 As I finish up the coop area, I move over to the nesting area where they work their magic laying eggs. It’s pretty dusty in there and thankfully the girls are finished laying. With the exception of one hen laying claim to that area, it’s free and clear. I move the grumpy broody hen out-of-the-way, for now. She officially hates me, at the moment… =/

I take down the nesting boxes which are held in place with Zip-Ties. I can always put them back when I’m done washing the area down.

When I do that, and move a bit of plastic which had fallen down on the floor, a passel (a bunch) of baby rats scrambled out of the area. They shot everywhere! Left, Right, Between my feet, Over my feet… It was pandemonium in that place!! About that time, the hens saw the scrambling baby rats and …. well…. Nature took it’s course…

I’d never seen so many chickens running around with rats for dinner in my life! It was disgusting, disturbing and fascinating! I didn’t want to watch, but like a soap-box show on TV, you just can’t miss what’s going on. I knew that chickens ate other critters. I’d seen them devour snakes, and kill other animals who had the distinct misfortune of finding their way in the coop; like a squirrel and a few birds, and random mice. I had never seen them GULP down a whole baby rat before. Kill something yes, but Eat it? Ick… Dear God. I was now damaged goods. You just can’t unsee some things…

With that said, I was totally fascinated with how they beat the snot out of them, then swallow them head-first. The fights that broke out in the coop, I was powerless to change, except maybe push them apart; which I did. I even moved some of the small dead rats into a hole so I could bury them, but the hens took them out before I could get the others collected.  I finally gave up and said, FINE! Eat Rat!  They did….

And they ate and ate and ate….  What they didn’t eat they left half dead, and I had to finish off the little rat babies.

Can you imagine what that did to me? Dear God, I wanted chickens but not this! Just one more thing “they” don’t tell you when you decide to have backyard chickens. You can read up on this, till the cows come home but you aren’t prepared for the real life with chickens (another blog of mine).

By now I’m pretty shell-shocked and just keep clicking photos, so you can live though my experiences. It’s not always easy, lemme tell ya! Below are more (yes graphic) photos of the hens enjoying Rat, a la carte’. This tiny New Hampshire Red pullet, is only 12 weeks old and she’s a master of killing and consuming baby rats. It’s kind of unnerving to think that I could be dinner as well, if I ever passed out in the coop. =/

 This young Red SexLink was one of the most persistent and aggressive. No sooner than I removed a rat from her, she found another one, or grabbed the one I had, back in her beak. She was so determined to eat it, I finally just gave it back to her, and grabbed my camera.

OK One More… Don’t say I didn’t warn you…   You just can’t Un-See some things… ♥The Chicken Mom♥

Time Out

Have you ever just needed “Time Out”, so you can collect your thoughts and have a moment’s peace and quiet? Yea, me too…

Time Out!

Time Out!

When my children were small, I’d run to the bathroom, and hide for a moment. Of course they know where I’m at, because they are banging on the door with hi-pitched yells of MOM!! MOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!! MOMMY!! Oh God, I do not miss those days. My Mother said, “It’s payback time for all the ‘cut-short’ visits I had to make to the necessary room”. She’s likely right though. I did bang on the bathroom door yelling for her. I even remember, and that’s something for a tiny tot to still remember doing that. I must have been a ferocious little turd to raise.

Oh yes, Chickens! I’ve not forgotten, really. I’m getting there. So here it is.

Time Out, now means that I get to walk outside and go sit with the girls. Usually, I sit with the 15 new hens, who are now mature enough to lay eggs. They are still young enough to be curious about what I’m doing and they still like to be with people. I’m glad. My older ladies who are separated from the younger ladies aren’t really “into” body contact and they have mood swings. (laughing). They are old and grumpy. They aren’t much fun to sit with really. I talk to them and they look at me and I know they are just really saying, “Piss off”. Sigh…  Here’s a picture of the older ladies (Grumbles a Lot, Stupid Chicken, Sweetie, Boss Lady, Blackie, Top-hat, Mohawk, Soggy-bottom-girl, Crissy, Meanass, Pecky).

The Older Ladies

The Older Ladies

Now, my younger minions looooooooooove me. They come worship at my feet. I mean really… (OK, I’m having a bit of fun at your expense, but bear with me).

They usually follow me around wondering what I’m doing. I have to shoo them out-of-the-way; sometimes shoving them with the toe of my shoe. Falling face first down into a fresh pile of poop would be no fun. They do not understand this! (Yes, that’s the top of my head)

IMG_0007

I call the ladies, “My Minions” or, “My adoring fans”. They know I love them dearly. Most of them want face kisses. Some just prefer to be left alone, and I respect that (mostly). Sometimes, I still grab them up and kiss the devil out of them and put them down. Sort of like you’d do with a rebellious kid. I only have a couple like that from the New Flock.

However, I never have to force Victoria into a lap-time hug. She just falls asleep.  She’s an Ameraucana. Such a lovely little lady who lays the prettiest blue-green eggs.

Lap-Time Nap with Victoria

Lap-Time Nap with Victoria

As the girls grew up and became full-grown hens, I was afraid they would become cold and distant. So far, they have not. Actually, they seem to look forward to my visits and look up at me with such intensity that I wonder what they are trying to convey to me? Food? Likely… Chickens are quite food motivated. One of the ladies whose name is “Cleo”, short for Cleopatra, feels it her given right in the flock to groom me. Any freckle, any  bit of trash on my leg or do-dad that she deems edible she’s going to snag up. If it’s a mosquito, watch out! She’s going to snag that little bugger! I hardly know what she’s up to until I watch her. She can silent and painlessly pick off anything on my body. Amazing. Well, all except the freckles. She’s not been successful at that yet. Usually that ends poorly, and she’s learning that freckles are not meant for eating or picking off.  Photo below of Cleo!  Determined little face, huh?

Cuckoo Maran

Cuckoo Maran

Well, in closing here… It’s just my consensus that, to have a flock of chickens is therapy for Time Out. Usually about 3 in the afternoon the girls and I visit and we catch up on the day. Some just flop down on my foot and go to sleep. Others like to sit there and let me groom them. They love the little feathers in tender areas (rump) picked over. I don’t get very involved there, but I notice other hens do that to each other, so occasionally, I’ll reach around and tug on some of the fluffy feathers like I’m grabbing a bug. (Laughing again here) – They turn and see what I’m grabbing to eat. (Yea Right! Ha, ha! Not..) It is cute though.

♥Chicken Mom♥

 

Hug A Chicken!

If you’ve been reading my blog on a regular basis, you know that I have a new flock of birds which have been maturing and becoming egg laying miracles. They have gotten to know me and I’ve gotten to know them.

These  girls, are so affectionate and responsive. They just enjoy company and really like to sit and talk. Sometimes they talk the whole time you are sitting with them and others just sit passively on your lap and fall asleep, or rest. Then there’s “Little Owl”.I could actually write a book about Little Owl. She’s really funny. As a baby, when she’d find me sitting, she’d hop on my knee and dive under my armpit with her head and just sort of stay there, with her rump end exposed. It was always so darn funny. I never stopped her because she was so determined to do it. If I had on my jacket she’d just hop on my knee and dive right inside my coat flap, settle down and nap. Even now, I shake my head and laugh at the memory.

Little Owl

Little Owl

What Owl did, I never really understood. One day I happened on a video of a Mom hen and her group of babies. They were all happily pecking in the dirt around her, and when they saw something which startled them, they ran headlong into the Mom’s breast feathers found a way under and hid. Some even found a way under the wings and rump. One little Biddy didn’t make it under so far and all that you saw of her was a Rump poking out from under the hens wing. I started laughing so hard. That was exactly what Little Owl did! Oh God! I really was a Chicken Mom.

Little Owl is a big girl now, and she is one of my really good layers. She’s an Ameraucana who lays light aqua eggs. I always sort of dreaded her quitting the actions she use to do. They were so genuine and real that I didn’t want her to stop. I knew she saw me as “Mom” and she was coming to me for a rest and relaxation she couldn’t get otherwise.

I never had to worry about that. Little Owl still does the “Dive”. Here’s a photo of her heading for happy Lap Time.

Little Owl Running for Happy Lap time

Little Owl Running for Happy Lap time

And… Here’s the Dive!  I think she’s loves it as much as I do…

owl-dive

Happy Lap Time!

Have you Hugged Your Chicken Today? 🙂

Hug A Chicken!

 

♥Chicken Mom♥

Happy Eggs

Country Egg Bowl

Country Egg Bowl

So many people have asked me, why I do what I do. “I mean having chickens can’t be exactly easy?” they would say. Or they would ask me what it takes to have chickens and what sort of things one learns…

I learned it takes a lot of dedication to have healthy chickens. It takes a lot of tenacity. My Great Gran would have called it “Bullheadedness”.

I had a lovely opportunity this past month to clarify to myself, why I do what I do. We had an abundance of eggs sitting in the refrigerator, which is kept only for eggs. Well, it was full. Time to give away those eggs to some lucky recipient or recipients. My art class was the forum I chose for distribution. I really like to share things with people. It makes me smile, and I knew the folks would just love the eggs, if they liked eggs at all.

It sounded like a good solution to my over-egged population, and it would make them smile. All good! They were all so kind and happy to get the eggs as they took them home. I just beamed with joy at sharing them. I figured that would be the end of it really. They were happy. I was happy… It was a Win-Win situation. Then I promptly forgot about it.

A few of the folks wanted eggs again, so I began taking the eggs to class for those who now loved fresh yard eggs. Outside of the happy sounds of Oooo’s and Ahhh’s association with getting more fresh eggs, I really never thought much about the egg-share day again.

We usually have a few minutes before class starts to visit and chat with each other. In this time frame a sweet little red-headed lady stopped me and began excitedly talking about the “eggs”. I was giving her my attention but I just thought she was going to rant about how delicious they were and honestly, I didn’t think she wanted more than that. I nodded my head as she went on to say, “I can’t eat eggs, but my dear husband loves them and I knew he would cherish them, so I took your offer of the eggs hoping he’d enjoy them”. I thought she was done, and I said, “I’m happy someone in your family liked them” with a gracious smile. Then I made to move off, and she grabbed my arm. “NO! Wait!”…”huh?”.  What dear? I said to her. She was intense in her gaze and I knew this was important, so I stopped and gave her my whole being, just listening.

She went on to say, “I’ve been allergic to eggs for years and years. I can not eat eggs. In a manner of minutes I am violently ill”. I nodded, still listening. I ate one of your eggs! Her eyes were the size of silver dollars, widened with such intensity. Then I waited! Nothing happened! No cramps, no illness, no violent reactions. Nothing…  Then I ran back in the kitchen and I cooked two more of your eggs, then ate them! Still Nothing… I wasn’t sick.

By now, I’ve got goose-turd tears in my eyes and we are hugging each other in the middle of art class. She wasn’t sick!! She can eat EGGS!! Just not the crappy store eggs. A light had come on in her life and now she knew, it wasn’t the eggs making her sick, it was what happened with supermarket eggs in the store which made her sick. Not that the store did it, but those eggs they sell; They made her sick. I did go on to explain to her that the egg farm chickens have growth hormones and antibiotics and other chemical treatments. Perhaps they were what made her sick. I did none of that to my chickens!

That had to be it! Oh my god… My heart just swelled with happiness. I cried all the way home after class. I found my answer… “Why do you do what you do?” I make happy healthy chickens, who lay happy healthy eggs, to help folks be happy healthy people. That matters to me. Making a difference… It’s why I do what I do.

♥Chicken Mom♥