Saturday, February 9, 2008

Field Guide To The Flock

Special Note: If you haven't read our "Can You Help Us" post, please do so! - Thanks, your chicken reporters.
Our Flock

Snowneck
Nickname: Burping (really!)
Breed: Black Gourmet
Distinguishing features: Large, grumbly fashion statement. Snowy, elegant chest and neck.
Favorite pastime: Eating. also inspecting human creations.
Story: She's the main inspiration for some stories that we're writing

Mouse
Full Name: Bellatrix LaMousemeat, also Bellatrix LaCuddly and Bellatrix LaTerrified
Breed: Black Gourmet
Distinguishing features: A funny comb (see photo). Completely terrified
Favorite pastime: Worm hunting
Story: One night I was turning on the electric fence, and Mouse was still wandering about. "Good night, Mouse," I said, and Mouse went off to bed.

Yikes
Nick Names: Little Old Lady With No Teeth and Booping
Breed: Black Star
Distinguishing features: Black feathers with streaks of brown.
Favorite pastime: Pecking shoes
Story: One day Yikes was complaining. She was standing on one leg, and each time she changed pitch, she wiggled her leg.

Cheeseball
Nicknames: Cheesie or Ball
Breed: Red Ranger (we think)
Distinguishing features: Large, fat, and waddly.
Favorite pastime: Staying away from Snowneck
Story: When we feed her, she looks at us expectantly, yearning for more, and sometimes leaps for food in your hand.

Cutie-Pie
Nickname: Cutie The Beauty
Breed: Black Gourmet
Distinguishing features: Very stripey, with bright yellow legs and feet; chalk-pink tiny comb and wattles.
Favorite pastime: For awhile it was sitting on eggs (or horse chestnuts that we stuck in her nesting box in place of eggs that we took).
Story: One day while Cutie was broody we kept turning her around to pet her beak, and then leaving. We opened the nesting box flap, expecting her to have turned back, but there she was, glaring at us!

Sleeve Eater
Nicknames: Sleeves and Eater
Breed: Black Gourmet
Distinguishing features: Says "Booboop!" when you grab her.
Favorite pastime: Acting wise and saying, "Hm."
Story: One time Cutie-Pie was sitting on Sleeve Eater in the nesting box. Eater had her head squished under herself. She just looked like a body with no head.

Bluestar
Nicknames: Little Blue and Little Paper
Breed: Black Gourmet
Distinguishing features: Stripey neck. She says "peep peep peep" and is very inquisitive.
Favorite pastime: Being held and having her wattles stroked.
Story: How she got her name: One day she tried to climb up the slanted metal shelter propped against the hen house. We had been reading Warriors, and Bluestar was a leader in that series, so the name Bluestar seemed perfect.

MORE BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

See How They Grow: Chick. Photographed by Jane Burton.
Not very useful, but extremely cute pictures.

Funny Frank by Dick King-Smith.
A tale about a rooster who wants to be a duck by an author who knows chickens. Great for all ages!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Catching Up On The News

Cutie The Broody, in her motherly anger


Wow, we have so much chicken news that we'll just send this incomplete summary of our chickens' antics, and perhaps fill you in on additional details later. The following news items were written over the course of the past four
months.

NEWSFLASH, October 17, 2007

IS CUTIE BROODY?

Broody; when a hen tries to hatch her eggs.
Cutie-Pie; the highly striped hen.
We believe that Cutie is broody. Why?
One. because we have been finding stripey down in the nesting boxes.
Two. Cutie was in the nesting box all day yesterday.
Three. She left when we removed the eggs from under her.
Four. She is in there today.

So there you go. No, we did not get a rooster. There will be no chicks (the editor is sad to say this).




Look where Snowneck wanted to lay her egg!






WHY KEEP CHICKENS

1. They are very amusing.

2. Nothing beats fresh-farm chicken eggs, with their brilliant orange yolks

3. Much cheaper than other birds you can buy

4. Many of them don't fly away, unlike other birds you can keep

5. There are a wide variety of colors to choose from

6. There are a wide variety of egg colors to choose from

7. You can compost their poo up -- makes great compost for your garden!

8. All natural control -- chickens eat bugs!

9. Chickens scratch the soil -- good ground-prep for a future garden

10. You don't need a rooster for them to lay eggs

11. There's nothing so beneficial as home-laid eggs

12. Chickens are very cuddly -- especially the fatter breeds

13. Chickens are cheaper than landscaping and just as decorative