Friday, April 28, 2006

They Grow Up So Fast

Today marks the one month mark of being a chicken herder. It all seemed like a great idea, then a crazy idea, then a trendy idea, then and finally, it seemed like the right idea. Get chicks, raise them organically, naturally. Let them free range in the yard so they can run after each other, chase butterflies, peck at weed seeds and flap their wings in the warmth of the sun. In turn, they'd provide us with eggs, in fact, the best you can get: homegrown from healthy and loved birds.

I am embarrassed to admit the number of hours I spend each day watching them do what they do. I just hate to be away from them, I'm so eager to see what they'll do next. It's a guarantee they'll earn a laugh from any audience. It is so much fun to watch them hop around after each other, testing their wings, with no set path ahead of them. It's all fun for them until Xena knocks the other two on top of their gourds with that hard and pointy beak of hers. I've been pecked by her, so I know how it feels.

Out of the three, she amazes me the most. Without any sage advice or guidance from a mentoring chicken, she has leapt to the top roost to be the head of the pecking order. She is a firm leader with a mother's watchful eye. She is quick to *bock* when she eyes something threatening in the sky above. Hawks, ospreys, P-3 Orions, it doesn't matter. She protects against all. It is fascinating.

Ginger has proven my prediction to be true. She is the lap chick. Buff Orpingtons are known to be docile and she definitely has the genes. She's a very sweet bird and has completely captured my heart.

Little Ella remains a songbird. She still does a little singing at night as their day comes to close. But come to think of it, Ella is seldom ever quiet. She has something to say all the time. As the little sister of the flock, she follows the other two on their tail feathers chatting away. There's just always something to chatter and chirp about. Always. She should be hoarse by now.

With other projects in the works and life's regular happenings, the tractor remains a work-in-progress. It is coming along quite nicely and should suit the girls well once it's operational in the backyard. There were no diagrams or plans to follow, so it's been design-as-you-go construction. The very cool thing about it is that it can be converted to a real coop a little later down the road. We'll be able to add the necessary nesting boxes, elevate it, add some ramps, add on a run and the girls will have a nice shady chicken condo to call home. We don't expect them to start laying until late this year so that gives us time to make sure the neighbors aren't going to raise hell before we raise the tractor onto stilts.

**click on photos to enlarge**


Anonymous Ricky said...

Ohhh, this is really lovely! I linked to you on our 'animal friendly weblog', which is in Dutch, so you can't read it probably :). Hope you don't mind.

April 30, 2006 5:36 AM  
Blogger Juli said...

Ricky, that's perfectly ok! I ran your message through an online translator to get an idea of your post. :)

April 30, 2006 1:25 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

They do grow up so fast, don't they? Mine get bigger by the day. Nice chicken tractor by the way. I need to get moving on mine. My Buff Orpingtons are the biggest lap birds too....soo sweet. This is so fun.

May 01, 2006 11:20 AM  
Blogger Lacy said...

awwww--- they're so fast to grow up! Built my coop this weekend and I'm getting a couple of americauna pullets next weekend!

May 01, 2006 11:21 AM  

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