27 May, 2011

Critter Gifts

I briefly mentioned chickens in an earlier post; here's the expansion. My brother in law was very kind & gave us 2 chickens. We didn't have a coop for them for quite awhile so they lived in our camper shell after their week long mountain adventure. I caught Miss Pretty Hen in the goat shed when she came down 2 days later scratching around & shut Mr. Rooster in 5 days later into the camper after watching him from the kitchen door. He finally followed her calls & just walked in, a very anti-climatic end to the daily search & chase.

Mr. Rooster:

And Miss Pretty Hen. That is her personal laying basket. An egg appears like magic every day! My egg purchases are down 50%.

Then Mike got busy (again) & built an aviary out of his fairly new tool shed.

I had slightly suspicioned that the toolshed would be turned into a chicken coop but I didn't want to dishearten him as he was so pleased to have a woodshed. You can't have too many sheds & we're kind of going into animal condo's here.
However, the wonderful lady who came over & showed us all of the wild edibles had just seeded her grass & wanted to get rid of her flock as they were eating the seed. Our flock increased nearly 10 fold.

There are Buffs, Banty's, Aracauna's, a Japanese something w/ pretty blackish green feathers, a Silky, others, we've nearly 20 in all. Mr. Rooster did the funniest courtship dance/ display w/ every new arrival, hopping on 1 leg w/ 1 wing spread at a time. The noise level increases by the week & we are glad to have it so, but the "peaceful country" is a misconception, especially at 4:30 in the morning.
These are Aracuana eggs over from my brother in law's.

We keep them in the pantry. There is no earthly good reason to keep fresh eggs in the refrigerator. They'll stay in the nest for over a week to collect a large enough clutch before the hen goes broody (if she does). They have a special coating to seal in the freshness (developing chick) that is lost if they are washed which is why the eggs ought not to be washed. That super large egg? A Buff/Aracuana mix that for some reason or other is named Lady Gaga. I need to ask about that; I heard it mentioned when a bunch of soldiers acted out one of her songs & google overwhelms you when you search the name; this is such a sweet older lady, surely she can't know who is behind that name.

Anyway, Lady Gaga the chicken is a beautiful light gold color, lighter than the other Buffs & they are the head hens. Miss Pretty Hen seems depressed w/ their arrival & I feel badly for her. Her & Mr. Rooster had been free ranging the whole time but we've been keeping them in to get used to the other chickens who've not free ranged & as their arrival was staggered in 3 separate trips, their release date keeps getting pushed back. We plan to let them all out on Mon. to scratch & do their chicken things & we'll see how well Mr. Rooster handles his charge. I've a suspicion he'll have them all roost in the laurel rather than the coop, but we'll see.
We are so thankful to God for moving the neighbors hearts towards us allowing this further step of independence away from Factory Food & to rely on Him & also to my brother & sister in law (again) for being in place w/ a head start to show us the ropes.

No comments: