New Chicken

Well, after losing Comet to the hawk, I knew that Beaker was going to need another companion. But I hadn’t realized how much she needed one. We kept her protected in the covered run for the past few days with plenty of food, water, and shelter. But she ate less. She started to look kinda scrawny. We let her out to free range while we worked on yard work, and she started to perk up. It became clear that we were her flock. She stretched her wings, started to explore again, and started to eat and drink with gusto. But it’s hard to be there for her all the time. I’m afraid enough of the hawk returning that I don’t want to free-range her without supervision, but it’s cold, wet and rainy outside. She doesn’t mind so much, but I can only stay out there for so long. Honestly, her covered run is a pretty good number of square feet, so I don’t feel guilty about keeping her in there. But without some company, she definitely gets droopy. Went out to sit with her yesterday and she wouldn’t stray more than 3 feet away from me.

So! Today was new chicken day!!!! Went back to Chicago Chicken Rescue which is a super cool place in Hyde Park. I will do a specific post on them someday if it’s okay with them. Looked around the yard at the chickens, many of which were quite pretty…think there was a silver wyandotte and a buff orpington and a pretty black one and a pretty white one. Oh…and an adorable bantam rooster of some type. Then I saw the niftiest brown/gold chicken with little black tracings around it’s wings. I knew some chickens were off-limits due to the son of the proprietor’s attachment. But, no…this was not one of the claimed ones! We cornered it, eventually. (Chickens are tricky SOBs).

We now have a second lovely chicken. They’re going through their initial pecking order fighting, but they are both sleeping in the coop together tonight. I think Beaker is gonna like having a new friend. Next step…naming.

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The nature of nature.

Went out to give the chickens some leftovers this morning. Unlike on a typical day, no chickens came running to beg for food. Looked in both of their coops. My eyes scanned around the yard. Then I saw it. A fairly impressive brown and white hawk with a curved flesh-ripping beak, doing just that–ripping flesh. A pile of blood and feathers marked Comet’s last stand. There was no ‘checking if she was alive’…clearly ex-chicken. Pretty bold hawk, too. Not scared of me at all. I probably got within 5 feet of it.

Eventually it flew up onto the back of one of our lawn chairs, then to the roof, then off into the distance.

After a careful exploration of the yard, eventually found Beaker hiding under a table behind the tiki bar. I closed her into her enclosed coop/run and brought her some food and water. She seems shaken. Maybe another trip to Chicago Chicken Rescue will be in order for this weekend. She needs a friend.

Chicken Alarm! Chicken Alarm!

It’s nighttime, so I couldn’t get any decent pictures. If I were clever, I should have recorded some sound. I happened to go out to the backyard late at night tonight to look for something in my car. Comet, the chicken who likes to roost rather than going into the coop at night, was all up in arms baw-bocking like crazy. Bokka baw! Bokka baw! Head up, full alert. Now, this is not her normal nighttime behavior. Or even daytime. Our chickens are pretty quiet. From all of the stuff I’ve read online, this seemed like a warning signal. Maybe that’s why she likes to roost. Maybe she’s the protector chicken!

So…what’s the predator she’s cawing about? I didn’t actually expect to find one, as I generally think she’s a pretty random chicken…but…I looked around the yard…and YES! There’s some random cute, gray adolescent and/or skinny-alley cat in our backyard! Was my first reaction to run it off, as my chicken thought it was a threat? No, of course not. I tried to call it to check if it had a collar, give it food and water if needed, etc, etc, but it ran like lightning. I searched the yard, the alley, the yard again, the alley again. Nope. Cat is long gone.

And the end of the story is (for a story must have a beginning, middle and end, at least some of the time), cats can take care of themselves and listen to your alarm chickens.

Gone all lazy blog.

Yeah…I’ve generally been a less-good poster, but I’ve gotten even more less-good, recently. That’s because I’ve fallen into the easy trap of blogging on Facebook rather than here. So…this is a great place for the full early episodes, but if you want to see my more recent updates, please search for Accidental Chicken on Facebook!

Yeah, a post without a picture.

So, it started raining very hard. One chicken always runs into the coop and the other tends to drench herself in the rain. Being a concerned chicken caretaker, wanted to make sure less-smart chicken was protected. Well, she had actually gone into the coop. I approached, she ran out into the driving rain. I tried to nab her and throw her back in, and she skillfully eluded me. Then a great big thunder clap and she darted right back into shelter. She knew what she was doing, I got all wet. But chickens are safe and sound.

Oh…have I been neglectful? Yeah. But here’s a super-long post to make up for it.

Okay, so, as I predicted in the beginning, I figured I’d be really gung-ho at updating for a while then get really bad at updating. This has, unsurprisingly, come true. I tried to start an instagram thingy, but I didn’t succeed. So, now I’ll try to update with several things that have happened over the past month…oh, jeez…the last two months:

IMG_9370.jpgOoh…a little pond with a little island for us to destroy and/or poop on!

Since hubby built that, the chickens have successfully dumped more dirt in the little pond than would ever be expected. But, we’ve also grown some giant goldfish. Hope to get pics.

Not chicken related, but, damn, that’s a cute doggie (Shout out to my parents’ Westie Bridget):IMG_9394.jpg

 

Pics of alternate chicken diapers that were also unsuccessful:5F0A30E3-693A-4C69-87F5-61DF49F9A979.jpg

 

Learning that the chickens prefer roosting to coop (surprisingly, this is a night picture, but our garage security light was that bright):IMG_9401.jpg

 

What the…what the…what the hell is that?? Some kind of gross shell-less alien egg bits! Ewwwwwwww. So, there it is.IMG_9411.jpgOh, and, apparently it’s Mardi Gras! (per the napkin)

 

Oh, yeah…brought Comet inside for the first time. She seemed like she needed a bath. IMG_9413.jpg

She was not as cool with the cats as Buffy was. Ah…Buffy…I miss you. I hope your caretakers are doing right by you.IMG_9420.jpg

 

 

Awww…look…Jeff has made a chicken planter!IMG_9467.jpg

 

Chicken vs Shrimp:IMG_9485.jpgChicken wins. Of course.

 

What the heck, why do you get the shrimp?IMG_9486.jpg

 

Night Laser Chickens!IMG_9490.jpg

 

Earlier promised pics of pond goldfish that started out half-pinky sized and are now koi-ish:IMG_9511.jpg

 

MMMM…dirt bath!IMG_9526.jpg

 

Double dirt bath!IMG_9535.jpg

 

AND, In Conclusion: The Awesome Tiki Chickens!!!!IMG_9550.jpg

Semi break in the action

So many things have been going on from a yard and chicken perspective, that I certainly owe a post.

First…the semi break…not a full break, but interesting sorta broken chicken egg. Comet went through a phase of weird eggs.

The first one is a soft shell. She squirted it out but there wasn’t enough calcium in the shell to keep it intact, so we had weird rubbery shell and yolk and white pooped out into the yard. The second two pics are one egg that came out scratched and crackly. The pic just shows the unsmooth edge of where I figure it was a little soft coming out of the cloaca..seems like there must be some twisting/corkscrewing as it comes out. The last one was just so long and skinny compared with the rest of the eggs.

For the first month or so, I was in awe of how uniform all of the eggs came out. Now I’m in awe of their diversity.