June 15, 2009

The Tale of Little Chicky

Posted in blogging tagged , , , , , at 7:13 pm by czygyny

April 18. My niece, Stephanie, ran into the house, breathless and excited. It took a minute or two to get the story straight, something about chicks, eggs and murderous hens. I finally stitched together the story: she had gone to the chicken coop to check on the chickens, as she does every day. She brings me back eggs or tells me they are out of food, but today she exclaimed that an egg had hatched and the hens were pecking it and carrying it around!chicky_05

I followed her back to the coop to find a tiny, wet, fuzzy lump, bloodied by the attacks of the senseless hens. I scooped it up and also took the eggs that the broody hen had been sitting on, just in case.

While I didn’t really need any other chickens, I let one persistent hen gather a clutch to herself. She did only a fair job, she was so small she often left eggs sitting around her.

Once inside and under a heat lamp and equipped with a heating pad, we anxiously waited to see if the chick would survive and if the other eggs would hatch.

Days went by. No other egg hatched. Chicky (now named) was listless, but alive. I finally discarded the other eggs, and Chicky chicky_08gathered strength and awareness.

Living in a box in the kitchen, Chicky became the center of attention. Oohs and ahs from the children that came through my house, with the common plea, “Oh, can I hold him?”. Chicky became the star and became quite tame from the handling.

The only permanent damage that seemed to have occured was a scarred and deformed beak, but it didn’t seem to bother him (her?) much.

I didn’t have any chick starter food, so Chicky’s first couple of weeks was a diet of ground dog food and pecans! He thrived on the rich grub. I was pleased to find that our local feed store had chick starter food in 5lb bags, so his diet shifted to a more conventional fare.

Once again, I was blessed to have the sweet cheeping of a baby in the house. I’ve grown to love that little voice. There is a content chatter, a hungry rattle, a introspective tittering, so much communication from such a ball of fuzz.

As he grew larger and stronger, Chicky began to take outdoor trips to the vegetable and wildflower gardens. He began the hilarious routine of ‘dusting’ himself, digging down and throwing dust all over himself.  It is amazing to me how this behavior is instinctual. What a mess!chicky_09

He quickly outgrew his box and I had to press into duty an unused birdcage, complete with his mirror in which he likes to cuddle next to and gaze. Soon the tiny fuzzy chickymommachick began to look like a real chicken.

It is no guess as to who his momma is! Chicky looks just like Kiwi, my super tame black bantam hen…I sure hope ‘he’ is a ‘she’ when all is said and done.

We’ve had a lot of fun times, sitting out in the wildflochicky_07wers while Chicky roams about, or hiding in the broccoli and digging around for earwigs in the strawberries. Watching  him fly to find me is a kick.

He gets the run of the house on occasion, when the dogs are outside…we just have to watch and quickly clean up any ‘accidents’.

 

 

chicky_03

Wearing chickens is not a good idea, not only do you have to worry about ‘deposits’, he will also peck you in the eye and mouth. Ouch!chicky_04

Chicky is getting big, now. All his black feathers are in and all the down is gone. He spends more and more time outside, whenever I am out in the garden for any length of time. 

Since we have many hawks of different sorts, and the big rooster attacks him, his days of roaming around on his own may never come, but I will continue to enjoy his company out in the garden whenever I can.chicky_01 (1)

So, Chicky, despite a bad beginning, ended up being a very lucky little chicken, after all. Except for a slightly mangled beak, he is a pampered, happy little Gallus gallus being, whatever sex he ends up being.

I guess when I hear a crowing or see an egg, I’ll know for sure.

chicky_10

April 6, 2009

The Downpour of March 16, 2009!

Posted in blogging tagged , , , , , , , at 8:36 pm by czygyny

I had meant to get this out a bit earlier, but going through one problem after another left me run down which developed into a case of pneumonia. But I am on the mend and finally can sit at the computer and actually THINK for a bit. It is my first encounter with the spectre of not having medical insurance.

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I slept through most of it, the torrential downpour of March 16, 2009. The sound of the rain lulled me into a drowsy afternoon nap. When the hail came down, I finally got up to see what the racket was and knew we were headed for trouble!

downpour

Our property is out on a small, flat valley. Everything is level except for an area that looks as if a scoop of ground had been removed, perhaps the remnants of an old creekbed. At its lowest, it is about five feet below the rest of the five-acre plot. You can sort of see it in the image, below, where the fence dips down. 

beforerain

By the time I got up, the ‘slough’ as we call it, was filling up fast.  By time I had my camera out, and get changed it was rapidly getting deeper.

 barn01

In little more than 15 minutes, the water had risen, as shown below, and was now flooding the barn. This includes the chicken coop, the add-on on the right. With nearly eight inches of water in the coop, I had to put on some flip flops and shorts and wade out in knee-deep water to check on the banties. Most of them were huddled up in the corner of the large shelf, cackling and squawking in alarm, but poor Frazz, my frizzle hen, was floating in the water, in uncontrollable spasms of cold-shock. 

barn02

I rescued poor Frazz, who received a warm bath to wash off the pen shavings and then a nice blow-dry to bring her out of her shock. She spent the night in the bathtub wrapped in towels! Thankfully, she came through the ordeal with nothing more than a tale to tell her buddies. 

tree

Thank goodness the rain stopped soon after, because the whole property was in danger of  being covered by the debris-filled brown water that was pouring in from the pastures from across the road. Gopher holes bubbled, bark drifted away and piles of flotsam and jetsam were starting to gather at the fences. Below is the view from the road.

road

Not all of us were perturbed by the dowpour, these geese thought all this water was grand!

geese

The whole ordeal ended on a good, if not beautiful, note, we had a wonderful rainbow at the end, and a whole album of photo memories of the big Downpour of March, 2009. By morning the water was all gone…pity I didn’t have my water tank or pump yet, I could have filled it on just this one storm, alone! All’s well that ends well, I guess. rainbowe