Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day & Crazy Chicken Lady Stories

So, it is 'Labor Day'... a celebration across the USA for the passing of laws concerning the hard labor of those in our past .

We celebrate the economics and contributions of workers...
The form of celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday : A street parade to exhibit to the public " the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations, followed by a festival for the workers and their families".

 That means we now have a day 'free from labor', right ?  Then, how is it that farm folks, horse folks, and the like must work on Labor Day ? Because animals, plants and the rest Still need care- during holidays, special occasions and well, just all year long. 
Ahhh well, such is our choice of vocation, I suppose.


As most of you already know, we have chickens on the farm... not just "a few" chickens but to me,now, a LOT of chickens. I bought 15 day old chicks due to a chick website offering a Great Deal on all hen chicks- provided one bought at least 15 of them.  Figuring this would end up with me having around 10 surviving chicks ( the inevitable "chick loss" syndrome)- I ordered my chicks in July. Well, they ALL have prospered and are eating like small ponies at this point . Chicks are always fun to have around, but since having 15 at one time, I have come to discover 'chicken herding' is Tough !

One evening last week, I chose to put the new pullets' to be outside in the sunshine for the day. I caught all 15 , much to their dismay , and placed them in a plastic container while I moved their wire pen ( actually a puppy pen) outside. I had it all set up- even had a sheet creating shade for them when the sun began to go down a little. (that end of our barn is towards the west...) When it was time to bring them back into their stall for the evening, I had a problem. How was I going to catch all 15 with out their squeezing their little feathered selves out of the wire ? It didn't go well...  three got loose and with only 6-7 safely in the plastic container, I was at a loss as to how to get the rest into the barn and then into the stall. Luckily, a friend stopped in to help with horse chores and she helped . Soon all 15 little traumatized hens-to-be were safely in their puppy pen for the night.

Whew- we were soaked in sweat but happy to have them all safe again.

The elder hens were fascinated by the peepies. They casually strolled past, checking the new gals out carefully ,but pretending to be finding bugs to eat.....

"A working student & her cock"

There's a great person here who has been helping and learning since this past March. She's come a long way and is becoming a confident horse woman. Since R.C. has become a wonderful (almost mature ) rooster, she'd been telling me about the roosters that showed up at her house. First there were three, then just one, and she was trying to make friends with him slowly. It took some time, but one afternoon, she sent me an email letting me know that she had caught him ! 

That was superb news as this had been going on for a few weeks already. We kept trying to figure out what breed he was.... I'd find photos of roosters that sort of looked like he did from the one picture she had sent me, and she'd send me pictures of other chicken breeds. (can you tell I am a rank beginner in the world of Chickens ?) We never could decide for SURE.

One day this past week, a car drove into our lane, and parked. It was the rooster gal and I couldn't figure out why she'd come to visit . 
It wasn't her day to help out or anything....
 She gets out of her vehicle, telling me she brought a visitor for me to meet.
That she'd taken her cock for a drive and figured she would bring him out for a visit at our farm.
So, she lifts this Beautiful rooster out from the back of her wagon, for me to see. Lo'and behold - this cock was a true Black Copper Marans- right down to his feathered legs ! 
 He is a very lovely fellow, and to this day ,
 we tease her about 
how she brought her cock to WoodFinn to visit. 
"Daisy Lays An Egg !"

Our lavender chickens- Daisy, Lilly & Rooster Cogburn will be a year old this coming February. They have grown to be simply beautiful chickens- and I can see why some people see them as "lavender" in color.... Ever so faintly, when they are in the sunshine, they do turn into light lavender. I love these three chickens, and was anxious to have them laying eggs .... those eggs would be fertile and Pure bred ' Lavender' Orpingtons !

Below is Lilly, our Pet Chicken, being shy.....

One morning, oddly enough, Daisy- who is RC's best pal- wanted to come Back into the barn alone. Weird, I thought, but again- chickens are not the most intelligent of creatures here. I let her in thru the gate and she just wandered around aimlessly. If a hen can do that.....
After a bit, I sent her back outside and when I was all done in the barn, left to go get something cool to drink.
That evening, I walked back to the barn, to see how things were going and the same gal who caught herself a rooster told me that there was a 
big surprise in the tack room for me.
It was an EGG ! A very dark 
colored small egg. Below, from left to right, is a large sized Orpington egg, then in front is a small-ish/ medium Wyandotte egg, and on the right side- 
Daisy's First Egg !

We are very proud of her, and that leaves Lilly, our official Pet Chicken, to begin laying. Now, Lilly doesn't see herself As a chicken, but a funny, short human in feathers. She loves to follow along while we get barn things done, runs to us if one of those Horrid hens dare to chase her, and adores sitting on laps as well. ( I even bought her a chicken diaper that she abhors wearing) We wonder if she actually WILL lay eggs because of her terrible start in life. Lilly almost died when she was small, and I nursed her back to health, thinking that she may not even be able to walk. Walk, she does now- she runs too !  She can fly some but like all 'fat farm hens' she's not real good at it. But to be a hen who lays eggs ? Yeah, that might be something she'll not ever do. Heck, I can't convince her that to be outside for a day is smart. Ever see a hen pining to come back inside ?   That would be our Lilly. 
So perhaps next spring, Daisy will go broody and hatch out some purebred Lavender chicks for us to enjoy !

Stay tuned for more Crazy Chicken Lady Tales to come  .

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