Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chicken Mama

A few days ago my friend sent this story to me from Mother Nature Network.  Every word is true.  Having chickens changes your life.
12 reasons I've been a little more busy as of late
Initially, I was kind of stressed and freaked out by them.  They were around two days old when we brought them home.  I felt this intense responsibility for these twelve tiny living creatures.  It was up to me whether they lived or died.  Keeping them the right temperature was a dance.  What I read said that they would let me know if it was too hot or too cold.  If it was too hot, they would lay and pant.  If it was too cold they would huddle.  When the temperature is just right- they chirp and hop around and all is right in the world.  I remember, at one point, after finding them huddled together, I lowered the heat lamp and in turn raised the temperature too much.  All twelve of them lay on their stomachs, heads stretched out, panting.  I carefully raised the heat lamp a bit, working to get it just right.  Did you know that chickens will pant, like a dog?  Until this little adventure, I didn't.  Think about it- do chickens sweat?
Last Saturday we took advantage of the summer-like conditions and took them to the back yard for a chicken field trip.  We fashioned a pen and I sat out in the yard with them while Doug cleaned up their living area in our mud room.
Ella, on the left and Babalou on the right
 They seemed to enjoy picking through the grass and selecting bits and pieces of succulent treasures.
Ella- my favorite.
As of today the chicks are one month old.  These photos were taken last Saturday at three weeks.  They eat non-stop and it seems that each time I check in on them they are bigger.  My favorite little chick is Ella.  When I go in to feed and water, all of the chicks scatter.  Not Ella.  She is always standing front and center, tall and straight as if to say "pick me up!"  Doug and I were talking about patterning.  Remember the man who raised the geese and literally flew with them?  Doug says I have become Ella's mama. 
Doug told me not to get too attached- not to name them.  I have only named a few.  I wanted to have chickens for the eggs and I'm not too sure about eating my own hand-raised chickens.  I did name my California White "Jenny O."  That is what I think of when I look at her. 
I didn't literally lose sleep when I brought my chickens home, but there have been many nights that I've gotten up to check on them.  Just a little bit ago, I went in to check on them and the temperature was down to seventy so I turned the heat lamp on.  It has been warm enough (and they have gotten big enough) that we have been turning the lamp off during the day.  Any project I take on I jump in with both feet and this chicken venture is no different.  I've signed up to attend a couple of talks put on by the local Purdue University Extension office.  Hopefully I will meet other new chicken mamas and daddys.


Privet and Holly said...

So precious....
Little scraps of
life! It's funny,
in so many ways I
feel that I have an
"inner farm girl,"
except when it comes
to eating the animals
that are raised on the
farm. I don't think
I could do it. The eggs
are a different story.
What an EGG-sellent journey,
my friend! So great to
keep learning and trying
on new adventures. Bravo.
xx Suzanne

MamaMonki said...

I keep asking my hubby if he's sure we can't have chickens here in town.... and yep I know my yard is way too small. He keeps promising me that someday we'll move to the outskirts of town so WeeMan can run wild with Beastie dog and I can have a ginormous garden with a few chickens.... and maybe a goat. (Although he doesn't know about my dreams of owning a little goat)

Donna said...

Well, I have to laugh!
So long ago, a guy I dated used to call me "Chicky mama." Now I know a real, live Chicky Mama -- you!
Your chicks are adorable and I love how you tap into their personalities. Fun read. My how fast they grow, too.
Donna C.

Blog Archive