Posts Tagged ‘chickens’

“Hey! How are the chickens?”

January 12, 2012

We get this question a lot. Apparently having chickens is still a novel thing, and considering we don’t have kids to ask about, nor does anyone really want to hear that the cats are just lazing about like fat, entitled cats are wont to do. People want to know about the chickens. Here’s the scoop, presented en masse. Wait, should I call this COOP SCOOP? Or just die first?

"Artistic interpretation" and the actual, neurotic Nora

Nora, the beautiful but permanently befuddled Polish Crested chicken, has a problem with logic. She won’t sleep in the chicken coop at night with the other chickens. She’d rather sit on the roof, in the rain, in the wind, in the frost, than roost inside the warm coop each night. The next morning her normally fluffy feather bouffant is soggy, sad looking side part.

We have serious doubts she will last the winter (although she is lucky this is a fairly mild climate) because she’s just that dumb. The coop isn’t too crowded, the other hens stopped picking on her months ago, but still. She unnecessarily tortures herself. So we’ve resorted to going out at night and “putting her to bed” by hand, and then locking the ladies in their coop for the evening to all stay warm.

A culprit KIA?

We also have a rodent problem. Some mousey buggers are burrowing holes in the chickens’ enclosure to raid their food at night. We can’t poison them because the cats like to catch the mice, traps wouldn’t be the greatest for fear of chickens or cats getting in them.  Enclosed live traps are creepy (what do you do with the mouse/mole/rat/thing after you catch it??), and the somewhat okay method we tried (floating sunflower seeds on top of a bucket of water so they jump in and drown) didn’t work. The easiest method we could come up with is putting the food in a plastic bin at night. So not only do we put the chickens to bed, but we also put their food to bed.

With the cold winter weather finally here, and some seasonal molting taking place, egg production has also dropped significantly. We went about 2-3 weeks without any eggs at all before Ruth, the black hen, finally started laying again this past weekend. Buying eggs from the store sucks, and I think the cost savings on eggs from the rest of the year will be negated during these months.

We do still love having the chickens though, and talk about at some point in the distant future that if we had chickens again, we’d definitely have more than just four. Four is small enough that it’s noticeable when one or two stop laying, and it’s easier for a certain chicken (ahem, Nora) to be very noticeably at the bottom of the pecking order. But the things are just damn funny. This morning I went out there and toss them spoonfuls of canned pumpkin. Three of them started digging in, but Ruth, the sassypants that she is, sniffed at it, balked, and then walked over to me and clucked like, “FUCK THIS SHIT, WHERE ARE MY NOODLES?”

They love noodles.

On Chickens, Death and Dahlias

June 24, 2011

In relation to my last post, I finally bought plants from someone on Craigslist. Tubers for 5 different types of gorgeous dahlias for only $2 each.  I ordered 2 of each, and in a stunning moment of math skills, gave the woman only $10 in front of her adorable family in their lovely home as they were cooking dinner. I don’t think she noticed until after I left, and I only realized it an hour later. Ridden with guilt I emailed her the next day, apologizing profusely, she thanked me for my honesty and I mailed her the other $10.

Also, we sadly lost one of our chickens a couple weeks ago. Sean was home for a week on bereavement leave after his beloved grandfather passed away (obviously, a much, much sadder event than losing a chicken, and a whole other story that isn’t much of mine to tell), and had just battled a horrendous bout of traffic while running errands on the other side of the city. He came home, looked outside, and there was Rose, our friendliest and most social chicken who loved to be petted, tipped over on her back, feet in the air, dead. Considering he’s had to deal with only one pet death in his life, and he was already pretty emotionally stressed, he was very bummed.

I was bummed too, and even more so when I had to call our landlord, who had owned Rose for 2 years before we had her. She was pretty upset, but after I explained the situation (her cluck had been raspy a week or two leading up to her untimely demise, but her activity level was absolutely normal and peppy, and we did everything we could), she understood.

Then… Then!

She wanted me to pluck memorial feathers off of Rose. You know, the chicken that’s been dead in a bag for 24 hours.  I mean, I felt bad so of course I did it, and afterward I didn’t feel as bad for her loss anymore because THAT WAS VERY, VERY DIFFICULT. In retrospect, pliers would have been handy, but damn, 5 feathers was all I could muster, both physically and emotionally. Who plucks or skins a deceased pet? Props to generations of people who’ve plucked many a chicken for the sake of sustenance. Sweet chicken jesus.

On the other side…

May 9, 2011

… Of the Cascades, of The Dalles, of Hood River, of moving out of my house, of becoming a landlord… I have officially lived in Portland for a month now, with the vast majority of the recent stress and madness is in the rear view.


The months leading up to the move were painful, and while it hasn’t been peaches and cream since then (such as an ant infestation and the water heater dying within the first week my tenants moving in, and our dryer at the new place dying within the first week), the peace of coming home to this other adorable little house with my boyfriend, three cats, and now three chickens mitigates all of the stress.

Sure I now commute 2 hours every day and live in a more dreary climate (most depressing spring EVAR), but man, I dig it. The vicinity to everything happening in the city (such as the Timbers game the other night), the eclectic neighborhood, the amenities… hell, even going to the grocery store is a million times more fun because THERE ARE ACTUALLY ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE THERE. And people are fashionable! I know, I know. The Dalles is a fashion hub, what with its lone Maurice’s and the janky old JC Penney with the glory hole change rooms. But I actually see people who dress like I do! I don’t stand out like a sore thumb!

Did I mention the chickens? I love my chickens. Inherited with the house, our three hens are now named after the Golden Girls. Rose, the little red hen, is the most social and also the one who, up until we built them an enclosure, was most prone to wander the neighborhood. Ruth, the big sassy black hen, has the biggest mouth and will yell her little head off if the other two escape. Blanche is a orangey-buff hen with a black tail, and she’s the most reticent out of the girls. The first two will gladly stop, lower and flatten their backs to be pet. With Blanche it only happens every so often. But watching them take dirt baths or fight over worms or chase us around the yard is the most entertaining thing ever. I greet them every day by going out the backdoor and saying, “Hello ladies!” Barf-inducingly cute.

The cats have adjusted fairly well. The first few days were clearly traumatizing and I felt like an awful cat mom by moving them, but they’re tough. Even my nervous, anxiety-ridden cat hangs out in the open a million times more often than she used to, and has begun curling up with us every time we might sit down to watch TV.

And of course, living with Sean has been nothing short of great. For a guy who had only one pet growing up (a hamster named Jackie), he’s taken on caring for and cleaning up after 3 cats and 3 chickens remarkably well. SO MUCH POOP. But living with him has made the word home an entirely different thing, and we have the. best. time. together. Even chores are fun. It’s ridiculous.

After 5 weeks the house is almost completely decorated (quite sensationally so, if I do say so very biased myself), we’ve hosted a giant party and an intimate brunch, started cleaning up the yard and landscaping what will be an epic veggie garden, and have met a number of the neighbors. It feels so domestic. So idyllic. So nice.

Photo of the Day: Day Twelve

March 22, 2009

Sean and I went over to my old boss and her husband’s house last night for cocktails and appetizers before going out to dinner in Hood River. Part of the appeal with visiting the Kaisers (besides that they’re awesome) is that they have TWENTY FOUR animals. Chickens, horses, goats, ducks, cats, a rabbit and a dog. Always entertaining. Here is Tracy with my favorite chicken, Nelly. As you can see Nelly has quite the bouffant going on.

This chicken once slept in my lap while I pet it like a cat.

This chicken once slept in my lap while I pet it like a cat.